The Power of Peer Support

Written on September 03, 2019

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While a hospital stay may end, a burn survivor’s journey lasts a lifetime. Many burn survivors experience exceptional care and support during their stay at a burn center or hospital unit, but after their discharge, they might feel surprised, shocked, or even overwhelmed at the journey ahead of them.

What is Peer Support?

Peer support is a system of giving and receiving knowledge, emotional, physical or social help to one another. Peer support is a powerful tool that is used in connection with many health conditions, including a burn injury. Peer support  for people with similar life experiences has proven to be tremendously valuable towards helping many move through difficult situations. For the burn community, peer support helps speed and strengthen recovery by offering healing, advice, and hope at a challenging time. The simple truth is the sooner the burn community can find resources and caring people, the sooner they can get back to living.  

Burn survivors, families, friends, healthcare professionals, firefighters, and others can all find power in peer support. Peer support takes many forms, including support for physical, social, and emotional healing. For burn survivors, receiving support from someone further along on their recovery journey can be important in restoring connections with others, as well as providing hope for the future. 

Recovering from a burn injury is a lifelong journey, so Phoenix Society aims to build connections and establish resources for burn survivors and their supporters, including peer support.

How to Get Peer Support

Phoenix Society offers a variety of peer support programs that can provide support and hope in the lifelong journey of a burn injury. Many survivors find peer support to be one of the most helpful resources in the recovery process because peer support is a powerful force against isolation. While each burn injury is different, one thing is the same – community is greater than isolation. 

Phoenix SOAR (Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery)

Phoenix SOAR connects burn survivors and loved ones to a compassionate community of people who share a similar experience. Through Phoenix SOAR, individuals with new burn injuries can hear from other survivors and can ask questions about what to expect. The power of this program has been proven time and time again.

A firefighter since 2003, Mitch Dryer was injured in the line-of-duty, suffering 3rd and 4th degree burns covering 20% of his body. Mitch was rescued at the last minute by fellow firefighters and began his journey as a burn survivor. During his hospital stay, Mitch met a Phoenix SOAR peer supporter: another firefighter and burn survivor who was injured on the job. Mitch notes that his peer supporter gave him insight into his future, support to conquer the present, and the strength to get back to living. Now, he is a trained Phoenix SOAR Peer Supporter and shares his story to help others. 

Peer Support Chat

Each week, Phoenix Society hosts an online support chat, virtually connecting the burn community across the globe. While there is healing power behind meeting other members of the burn community in person, this may not be viable for all. Some may not be surrounded by the burn community all year long. 

Phoenix Society's online chat gives the burn community the ability to connect every week, for free, all year long. The live chat covers common issues and questions facing burn survivors and their loved ones. Currently, the live chat is hosted through Facebook every Wednesday from 8:00 - 9:30 P.M. EST.

Virtual Support Group

Virtual/Call-In Support Group is a live, inactive networking group for adult burn survivors and their loved ones from around the world. Support group is held on the 2nd Monday of every month at 8 pm EST. Special topic Virtual Support Group is also held on various 4th Mondays of the month throughout the year.

During a cooking accident in May 2020, Lauren Grove sustained full-thickness burns on both of her arms and legs. She was treated at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where she first learned about Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. Initially, she wasn’t ready to talk about what happened or receive peer support, but her mother saw her struggling and encouraged her to get involved with Phoenix Society. Since then, Lauren has been an active member in Virtual Support Group as well as a Peer Support Chat and Phoenix World Burn Congress participant.

"These programs, specifically the Virtual Support Groups, have been life-changing. Being able to connect with other survivors is something I'm thankful for every day. Those who haven't experienced a severe burn injury have a hard time understanding what it's like; they cannot relate. In turn, this makes being a burn survivor a very lonely place. Finding people that understand what it's like, both mentally and physically, has significantly improved my mental health, as I no longer feel alone in my journey.” - Lauren

Get Peer Support Today

Recovery after a burn injury is physical—emotional—social. You don't have to travel that journey alone. Choose from a variety of connection opportunities to find hope, healing, and fellowship on your terms.