The goal of Our Collective Journey is to connect people with people.
As Our Collective Journey grows, our intent is to just put people in contact with people. The first step in any form of recovery is really acknowledging what it is a person may be suffering from. It has been our experience that being able to relate to someone else's story is a significant bridge to self-awareness.
What Makes Our Collective Journey Different?
A question that we are often asked is “What makes Our Collective Journey different than what’s being done in community already?” Our Collective Journey’s strength comes from the power of shared experience, but we also bring a lot more than that to the table!
One of the most important pieces that Our Collective Journey prides itself on is the authentic, honest connections with individuals rooted in shared experience. An OCJ peer support draws from their experiential knowledge – the happenings, emotions, and insights of their personal lived experience - as they listen to, interact with and support peers. Through our own personal experiences and hearing experiences of others, we understand that often times peers who are suffering in silence are not ready to walk through the doors of a professional agency. By sharing these stories of hope, individuals have a chance to explore and resonate with unique parts of each real-life story. Every time someone shares their story, they help erase the shame for others which helps them not feel so alone in their pain.
All OCJ peer supports have experienced their own personal darkness at some point in their lives. Each of these peers are ready to share their experience, of how they moved through that darkness and into a new light, with the next individual who reaches out. These stories of lived experience may include various professional supports, coping mechanisms, support groups, and other tools that are unique to each story. OCJ’s diverse peer support network encompasses individuals who have found their way into recovery from not only addiction and mental health, but many other real life experiences. At OCJ, a number of the sharing peer supports are also trained professionals that keep the mandate of “do no harm” at the forefront of all connections. OCJ peer supports are ready to share their experiences at any hour of any day. This is one thing that is difficult to duplicate in a professional agency due to the constraints of hours, regulations, and other agency policies. OCJ approaches all of its connections from a person centered approach and doesn’t just say this on paper. We prove it with each interaction by meeting people where they are at (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually); then continue towards the overarching end goal of empowering peers as they explore possibilities and find their path towards a healthier and happier outcome.
Our Collective Journey recognizes the importance of continually collaborating with community professionals in order to expedite referrals when the individual is ready to take the next step in their personal journey. After building these personal connections, OCJ members can assist the individual in finding what options are best for them moving forward. OCJ also recognizes the mental health continuum is a range having mental health and mental illness at the two opposite ends. As situations improve or deteriorate, the person’s position can shift dramatically. OCJ recognizes that certain situations will require more than peer support and will connect the peer with the appropriate resources to meet their needs. At that point, the OCJ peer supports will continue to walk with the individual into whatever professional agency, support group, etc., strengthening the value of “You are not alone!”
Additionally, Our Collective Journey is very interested in helping erase the stigma that is so prevalent within the population. The preconceived thoughts/images, involving individuals who are impacted with these stigmatic issues, are something that needs to be addressed, explored, and reframed. Almost every individual at OCJ has experienced the oppressive weight of stigma at some point in their personal journey. Stigma is a colossal ingredient of what keeps people from reaching out for help. This has to change! Many individuals at OCJ have “removed their masks” and stepped out from behind the heavy curtain of shame. They are ready to share and discuss their experiences in order to normalize these VERY REAL life issues!