The following is an excerpt from the 2018 Magellan Community Impact Report.

Standing tall is a tall order. How do  you know what the right thing is? Answers aren’t often cut and dried. Instead, we know by having lived through similar, difficult experiences ourselves and standing beside those we support—standing together as peers on the path to recovery.

Living through the same kinds  of challenges

Magellan’s recovery support navigators represent our best practice approach to tapping the power and potential of peer support. Peer support is an evidence-based practice, and numerous studies continue to validate the effectiveness of these supports. Recovery support navigators are professionals who have lived experiences with some of the same challenges our members face. They have experienced substance use disorders or psychiatric disabilities and may have personally been homeless, had their utilities turned off or experienced food insecurity. They can relate to the members they support, empathize, and then draw on real-world solutions to help them.

Sharing our stories

Every day recovery support navigators show up and not only listen to and support our members, but also share pieces of their own stories to inspire hope and change. Dana Foglesong, director of recovery and resiliency services for Magellan Complete Care of Florida, knows first-hand the transformative power a peer specialist can have. She knows not just because she has been certified as a peer recovery specialist since 2010, but because Dana had the support of a peer support specialist herself.

Dana describes her journey: “In my late teens and early twenties, I bounced from state hospitals to crisis stabilization units. I was desperate to end my life. I had no hope that my former goals could ever be realized. When I started working with a peer specialist, I began to view myself and my future more positively. My peer specialist expected me to recover and connected me to the resources that empowered my recovery process.”

Dana not only recovered—she has thrived! She recently completed a master’s degree in social work and leads Magellan’s diverse team of recovery support navigators. She has been awarded for her commitment to providing help and hope to others, including for her work founding the Peer Support Coalition in Florida, which expands leadership, advocacy and employment opportunities for people, like her, with lived experience. Dana describes her life now, saying: “At Magellan, I have the opportunity to do such meaningful, passion-filled work. It keeps me inspired and grateful to be a part of helping our members lead healthy, vibrant lives.”

Leading the way

Magellan was the first managed care company in the United States to recognize and incorporate peer support services into the continuum of care. Since 1999, we have been a leader in increasing access to peer support through partnerships with the recovery community and providers. We have assisted state customers in developing robust certified peer specialist capabilities, driven in large part by our depth and breadth of experience. Magellan continues to create shared learning opportunities for the peer workforce and others to improve and enhance the knowledge, skills, and competencies of the peer workforce.