Commentary by Laura Shanks

In April, I launched a virtual peer-run wellness collaborative group on Zoom through Vermont Psychiatric Survivors with my colleague, Carter Kinoy, with a mission to provide a safe community space for open discussion, synergetic support, creative problem solving, and mindful movement. This mutual support group, called Creative Collaborative Connections, meets every Tuesday from 5 to 6 p.m., the group also holds space to voice concerns and enlist support for advocacy to create positive change with like-minded individuals.

Now, six months in, I can say that this group has become one of my favorite times of the week. As a facilitator, I always come with discussion topics and creative potential, but hold space for the group to choose the direction.

They say you get what you get when you need it and no matter what, the evenings’ exchanges always seem to be exactly what I need in the moment. Even if I’m feeling good, I aways leave group with a deeper sense of happiness, connection, and understanding. I am grateful to all those who attend and hope they leave each meeting with a similar sense of serenity.

We anticipate the group will continue to grow and welcome all those who wish to join. Email me at [email protected] for the link.

Laura Shanks is Peer Support Coordinator and a patient representative for Vermont Psychiatric Survivors.

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