Judy Yanacek and Toby Tarquin-Stackhouse were recently invited to a special screening of a documentary film set in Philadelphia, titled Hollywood Beauty Salon.  The film, directed by Glenn Holsten, explored the value of behavioral health peer to peer support.  Peer support services are one recovery option whereby individuals with behavioral health diagnoses provide support, encouragement, and assistance to other individuals who participate in services.  The film was a moving representation of these services that emphasized connecting behavioral health service users to compassionate peers and favorite activities.

A panel discussion followed the film screening.  Members of the distinguished panel included: Dr. Larry Real, Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual DisAbility services; Joan Erney, the CEO of Community Behavioral Health; Veronica Carey, PhD;  Tess Zakrzwski, Assistant Director of the Germantown Recovery Center; and Darlene Holmes Malone, one of the stars of the film.  Panel members suggested that peer to peer support is a critical component of behavioral health care.  Panel participants also stressed the importance of authenticity, purpose, and vision in recovery.  The freedom to be “real” with others, the ability to dream, and finding one’s purpose were highlighted by panel members as critical elements of any recovery journey.

New Vitae Wellness and Recovery is currently working to expand our Certified Peer Specialist program.  Because of the unique and positive connections built between the peer support service provider and program participants, individuals often prefer to share their personal trauma and behavioral health symptoms with someone who has valuable lived experience.  “The benefits of peer support cannot be overemphasized,” states Yanacek.  “New Vitae has believed in the value of peer support services for years, and we are pleased to be focusing on ways to connect peers to encourage continued growth and success in recovery.”

Hollywood Beauty Salon emphasizes the benefits of peer to peer support.  It is a thoughtful film that encourages frank and meaningful discussion about the nature of recovery and the behavioral health system.  Please visit the film’s website for more information on screening opportunities.  Special thanks to Scott Johnston, Director of County Services for WOAR (Women Organized Against Rape) for the invitation to the film screening.

For more information about our treatment programs, contact New Vitae Wellness and Recovery today.