Mentoring Peers in Treatment at Turning Winds

Mentoring Peers in Treatment at Turning Winds

Peer support encompasses a range of activities and interactions between people who share similar experiences of being diagnosed with mental health conditions, substance use disorders, or both. This mutuality between peers seeking recovery promotes connection and inspires hope. 

By sharing their own lived experience and practical guidance, mentoring peers helps both mentors and mentored persons develop goals, create strategies for self-empowerment, and take concrete steps toward building fulfilling, self-determined lives.

“Participants assigned to the peer mentor condition reported significantly greater reductions in substance use and psychiatric symptoms and greater improvements in functioning compared with participants assigned to standard care,” wrote O’Connell, Sledge, Staeheli, et al. in their 2018 study on peer mentor intervention. “Moreover, participants in the peer mentor program remained out of the hospital for significantly longer periods of time compared with those assigned to standard care.”

Turning Winds is a therapeutic boarding school for teens combined with a full continuum of care for mental health issues. It combines elements of wilderness therapy and a relational treatment approach with a full medical and clinical team while also offering a full academic staff to provide the much-needed support for your child. Peer mentoring is another strong element of the treatment program at Turning Winds.

“As kids come in at a higher level of care, they’re learning basic ways to cope and regulate their emotions,” explains Turning Winds therapist Kimberly Sparks, LCPC. “They learn how to take on leadership skills, such as having more accountability to themselves and to their peers, and their families.” 

“As they achieve certain levels, approach summit leadership, it gives them the practice to perform those skills with their peers. In this particular cohort of adolescence, it’s really important that they learn to do that with their peers because after treatment, they go back facing the same pressures from their peer groups.”

At Turning Winds, our clients get an opportunity to practice leadership and accountability, take responsibility, hold others responsible, and have confidence in doing that. “I think it definitely improves their overall self-esteem,” says Sparks

Mentors are “kids that have been here for a while and who were oriented by other kids when they got here,” says Turning Winds CEO Owen Baisden. “Kids who told them ‘here’s how Turning Winds is, here’s how it works. These are the ins and outs.’ The entire process from enrollment to when the kids leave is all about mentorship and helping newer kids or kids who are struggling to rise to the top.”

At Turning Winds, it’s the people who make the difference—staff and fellow patients. Over the course of more than twelve years, we’ve built a team of some of the world’s finest academic and therapeutic professionals, all of whom share the same goal: to help teens re-engage meaningfully with their lives, families, and their futures.

Contact us online for more information, or call us at 800-845-1380. If your call isn’t answered personally, one of us will get back to you as soon as possible.


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Picture of John Baisden, Jr

John Baisden, Jr

John Baisden Jr is the father of seven inspiring children, and he is married to Kara, the love of his life. Together they have created a family-centered legacy by leading the way with early childhood educational advancement. John loves to write and is an author of a children’s book, An Unlikely Journey and plans to publish additional books. Show More

John is a visionary in his work and applies “outside-the-box” approaches to business practice and people development. He is the Founder of Turning Winds, along with several other organizations. He has extensive experience launching and developing organizations. His skills include strategic planning, promoting meaningful leader-member movement, organizational change, effective communication, project management, financial oversight and analysis, digital marketing and content creation, and implementing innovative ideas through influential leadership. As a leader, John seeks to empower others and brand success through collaborative work. His vision is to lead with courage, grit, truth, justice, humility, and integrity while emphasizing relational influence rather than focusing on the sheens of titles, positions, or things.

Finally, John is passionate about life and promoting equity among those who are often overlooked because of differences that frequently clash with the “norm.” He lives in Southern Idaho and loves the outdoors and the life lessons that can be learned in such an informal environment.

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