DLC Peer Recovery Coach Jake Ponsky Earns Recovery Peer Specialist Certification

DLC Peer Recovery Coach Jake Ponsky Earns Recovery Peer Specialist Certification

Naples, Fl – David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC), Collier County’s only comprehensive, not-for-profit behavioral health provider serving children, adults and families, announced that Jake Ponsky, a Peer Recovery Coach working in DLC’s new Hospital Bridge program, has earned his Recovery Peer Specialist Adult-Family Certification from the Florida Certification Board.

The Hospital Bridge Program is a collaboration between DLC, Physicians Regional Medical Center and NCH Healthcare System. Ponsky is one of three Peer Recovery Specialists utilized throughout the DLC continuum of care. The positions are funded by a grant from the Florida Department of Children and Families.

The Certified Recovery Peer Specialist (CRPS) credential is for people who use their lived experience and skills learned in training to help others achieve and maintain recovery and wellness from mental health and/or substance use conditions. The CRPS credential designates competency in the domains of recovery support, advocacy, mentoring and professional responsibilities.

Ponsky brings more than six years of recovery to his work with adults with a substance use disorder and history of overdoses. Ponsky, who battled an addiction to heroin, crack cocaine, and alcohol, supports the engagement, treatment, and recovery of the individuals he visits in the emergency rooms who have suffered from overdose or other substance use-related complications.

“Childhood trauma, lack of services, and early substance use gravely affected me,” shared Ponsky. “By the time I was 18, homelessness, jail, and institutions were my reality. Addiction brought me loss of life and loved ones and almost all of my will to live.”

As a Peer Specialist, Ponksy shares his experience with addiction to help patients see there is hope for changing the unhealthy pattern in their life that brought them to the hospital. He provides recovery coaching; referral and linkage to treatment services; and assistance with coordination of services which can include transportation from the hospital to treatment, follow-up care, and well visits.

“I share with these patients that I used to be right where they are, and hopefully I can help,” said Ponsky. “They tend to listen to peers more than someone in a lab coat. They need to know they are not alone, that others have walked a mile in their shoes, and that people are willing to support them.”

The program is designed to improve linking the two hospital systems with DLC’s community‐based substance use programs and provide treatment, transitional support, certified recovery housing and other wrap‐ around services to prevent readmissions.

“Jake’s willingness to share his lived experience as well as the strategies that helped him achieve long-term recovery have had meaningful and profound impacts on the individuals he serves,” said Maggie Baldwin, Crossroads Clinical Director and Master’s Level Certified Addiction Professional. “He is a passionate advocate for those in our community struggling with substance use disorders and is an invaluable member of the DLC team.”

“I am eternally grateful for everyone at DLC for believing in me and helping me earn this certification,” added Ponksy. “Seeing the degree of empathy and love expressed to those suffering through peer support and other innovative recovery programs, is indeed an experience I’m proud to be part of.”

DLC is currently recruiting two additional Peer Recovery Specialists for the Collier County Drug Court Program and the Crossroads Addiction Recovery Program.  For more information, visit www.DLCenters.org.

Southwest Florida nonprofit David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) is a national leader providing compassionate, advanced, and exceptional mental health, substance use, and integrated healthcare solutions, available for children, adolescents and adults. DLC’s innovative treatment includes inpatient, outpatient, residential, and community-based services – a comprehensive system of care funded by community and government support. Each year, DLC serves more than 9,000 people through over 290,000 treatment sessions. To learn more, please call 239-455-8500.

Jul 26, 2021 | News & Events, Press Releases

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