Paying it Forward ~ Mental Health Peer Support
Greetings, Veteran, and welcome to the Dragonfly Community! My name is Dayton, and I am the mother of a fallen Marine. Are you struggling? The most important message I can share with you is this...
You are not alone. I am here to provide a safe space. I am here to listen.
And as a Mental Health Peer Specialist (MHPS) it is my privilege to offer telehealth Peer Support to Veterans at no cost.
In October 2016 I was deployed as a FEMA Reservist, Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) Specialist, to South Carolina in response to Hurricane Matthew. The following month I returned home in a wheelchair from injuries I incurred from an MVA. To this day, I continue to recover from the physical injuries as well as the neurological and psychological injuries resulting from a TBI. After spending nearly a year completing over 5 hours of daily brain exercises, I entered the MSW program at the University of Texas at Arlington in the Fall of 2019 for two reasons: to increase cognitive stimulus thereby creating new neural pathways and healing in my brain; and to accomplish my vision and mission that began in 2010 to serve Veterans. To read my complete story, click here.
On 11 February 2008 my eldest son was killed in a hit-and-run less than 90 days returning home from his 3rd tour in Iraq. This tragedy propelled me on a journey of healing and an early retirement in December 2010 from a fulfilling and successful career as a Senior Project Manager at IBM. While my son had only been home a short time, I was very aware that he was not yet ‘all the way home’. Over the next decade I would meet countless veterans and family members who would report the same experience…the same story…and this is how my vision of serving Veterans began.
My sobriety date is 15 December 1984. After I became sober, I was able to begin another journey of healing and recovery; the impact of living with a bipolar disorder. Is recovery possible? Absolutely! And it is my desire to support Veterans in their personal journey to wholeness, wellness, well-being, and recovery.
So, what is Peer Support ?
A man falls into a hole so deep he can’t get out. A doctor walks by, and the man calls for help. The doctor writes a prescription, tosses it into the hole, and walks on. A priest walks by, and the man tries again. The priest writes a prayer, tosses it into the hole, and walks on. Finally, a friend walks by, and again the man asks for help. To his surprise, the friend jumps in with him. “Why did you do that?” the man asks. “Now we’re both in the hole.” “Yes,” the friend responds. “But I’ve been in this hole before, and I know the way out.”
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. SAMHSA News, September/October 2004, Volume 12, Number 5
~ Marla Rae
Veteran, sign up for telehealth Peer Support by calling 409-795-8566.
Let's talk soon!
"Speaking with Dayton about my challenges, successes, opportunities, and worries greatly improved my ability to process them. I don’t like to talk about my feelings, but even from our first interaction I freely expressed myself. I felt like I could talk free of judgement and be heard from a place of understanding. It really felt like “my time,” a concept that I rarely experience due to school, work and raising children."
David Rash, II ~ United States Marine Corps Veteran
"Dayton Williams has stood as a positive asset to not only Veterans attending the University of Texas at Arlington, but the overall student population as a whole. Always with a encouraging word when you find yourself in a bind and stressed out over an assignment or school in general. She has the ability to know what to say and when to say it (and it’s not what you want to hear or fluff sometimes) and that’s what I will miss the most. If you’re fortunate to have her as a Peer Supporter, do not hold back because she is truly one of the purest hearts and open ears you will ever encounter."
Derron Gadison, United States Army, SFC(R)