What is Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coaching?
We are Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coaches who seek to help individuals living with mental illness and/or their caregivers, families, and families-of-choice reach recovery.
Why did Katherine Ponte create Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coaching?
I created Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coaching to help other people impacted by serious mental illness access the benefits of peer support. Peer support restored my hope, which led me to recovery. My goal is for Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coaching to help others reach recovery as well.
I was first diagnosed with severe bipolar I disorder with psychosis and suicidal depression nearly 20 years ago. I lived without hope for 16 years before I started my recovery journey. You may view some of my story in my
Recovery Journey video
about my lived experience in leading mental health publications.
I experienced: years of refusing to ask for help, suicidal depression, 6 years denying my diagnosis and treatment, 5 severe manic episodes with psychosis, 4 relapses, 3 involuntary hospitalizations, multiple incidents of non-compliance, unemployment, extreme social withdrawal and isolation, difficult family relationships, difficult relationships with treatment providers, and many lost friendships.
My recovery journey began during my last hospitalization. I watched a video of a peer living with serious mental illness in recovery. I thought that if she could reach recovery so could I, and I started to pursue this possibility. I was determined to learn as much as I could about mental illness, particularly peer support. I completed a number of continuing education courses, which I detail in my
How do you help people affected by serious mental illness access peer support?
We help individuals living with serious mental illness and/or their caregivers, families, and families-of-choice access a Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coach.
What are your areas of Lived Experience Expertise?
What is a Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coach?
A Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coach is a person living with serious mental illness in recovery. They use their lived experience to help peers and their supporters pursue recovery. We define recovery as living a full and meaningful life with serious mental illness even if there is no cure. A Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coach has been living with serious mental illness for at least ten years and has been in recovery for at least five years. They are currently in treatment. They are successfully managing their condition to minimize its impact on productivity and quality of life.
Who typically works with a Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coach?
- An individual living with serious mental illness;
- A caregiver of an individual living with serious mental illness and/or
- An organization seeking to provide their employees with additional support
What can Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coaches offer me?
Non-clinical support services to an individual living with serious mental illness, caregiver, and/or groups that align with
SAMHSA’s 10 Guide Principles of Recovery;
- Personalized, peer-to-peer relationships that support development and use of skills to manage crises and achieve recovery, wellness, and life goals. Their lived experience can help other individuals living with serious mental illness, caregivers, families, and families-of-choice reach recovery;
- Help initiating treatment and achieving and sustaining recovery. Serve as a role model for recovery by inspiring hope, building confidence, self-efficacy, empowerment, and engagement;
- Help addressing multiple life domains, including physical health, mental health, social health, spiritual health, financial health, and daily living to maximize potential areas for positive change;
- Their lived experience can offer differentiated and unique insights into situations such as suicidal ideation and psychosis;
- Sharing experiences with relapses and hospitalizations and rehospitalizations, which may help reduce relapses and rehospitalizations and / prevent and manage a crisis;
Personal knowledge to help an individual living with serious mental illness and/or a caregiver access and navigate reputable resources and support services that can help achieve their goals, including:
- the mental health care system
- online sources of information
- education, employment, and social activities
- Extensive experience addressing the challenges of living with serious mental illness including reaching and staying in recovery;
- Help caregivers better understand the experiences of an individual living with serious mental illness, enhance their relationship, and support that individual;
- Help an individual living with serious mental illness and/or a caregiver develop strategies to better communicate with each other and/or friends and family or family-of-choice;
- Help develop and improve working relationships with health care providers, including encouraging the use of shared decision-making;
- Help adopt and use person-centered, recovery-oriented practices in interactions to enhance the provision of services and support;
- Extensive experience living, communicating, and working with their own families and friends to reach recovery;
- Insights from working with other people impacted by serious mental illness;
- Facilitate serious mental illness rights and systems advocacy by an individual living with serious mental illness and/or a caregiver;
- Understand and maintain the privacy and confidentiality of an individual living with serious mental illness and/or a caregiver;
- Work founded on the key principles of respect, shared responsibility, and mutual agreement;
- An excellent complement to the work of psychiatrists and therapists;
- A potential effective alternative source of support; and
- Convenient remote delivery of insights - including video, telephone, and text.
But what if I already see a health care provider, should I still consider working with a Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coach?
Absolutely! We may be an excellent complement to the work of a therapist or psychiatrist. Where therapy is not affordable, we may be an effective alternative source of support.
Are Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coaches Health Care Providers?
No. Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coaches, unless specifically qualified as a health care provider, are not health care providers. They may benefit health, but we are not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider. If you are in a life threatening situation, call +1 (800) 273-8255 to get immediate help.
Are the fees of a Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coach covered under my insurance?
No. However, if you are employed you may want to check your EAP (Employee Assistance Program) to see whether or not they offer coverage.
How do I inquire if I am interested in working with a Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coach?
Please complete our 'I want a recovery coach' form or email Katherine at [email protected]
. Please provide your first and last name, email address, whether you are seeking support for yourself or a loved one, a brief statement of your situation, including a diagnosis if known. We will keep all information confidential. All information will be kept confidential, except with your prior permission, we will share your details, without disclosing your name or contact details, with a prospective Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coach.
What are fees and terms to work with a Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coach?
- Our rate is $150 for a 45-minute session;
- Payment in full is due in advance of each session.
- Payment can be made by Zelle, Venmo or PayPal to [email protected];
- We work by video, phone, and text;
- Flexible work hours, including as needed, days, nights, weekends; and
- No ongoing commitment is required, but we encourage you to try us for a few sessions. As with most therapy, results may take time to realize.
Who will be my Serious Mental Illness Recovery Coach?
Katherine Ponte, our founder, personally consults as many of our clients as possible.
What if I have any questions?
Please email us at [email protected]