Fellowship Health Resources specialist chosen for national award

Fellowship Health Resources specialist chosen for national award

LINCOLN – The National Council for Behavioral Health has chosen Robert Ortiz, northeast director of Peer Recovery Services and peer specialist at Fellowship Health Resources Inc., based in Lincoln, as the recipient of the “Peer Specialist of the Year.”

The award, according to a news release, recognizes an individual each year for showing “extraordinary tenacity and courage in battling a serious mental illness and/or addiction and now utilizes his or her lived experience to assist others.”

Ortiz, a New Bedford, Mass., resident, began experimenting with drugs after he witnessed his mother attempt to overdose and take her life, according to the release. A few years later, at the age of 18, Ortiz had found his mother shortly after she committed suicide, the release read.

Ortiz went on to battle with homelessness, drug addiction and PTSD for the next several years, but through determination, “Robert has learned to manage his behavioral health challenges and life’s struggles,” the release noted.

Ortiz now works as a peer specialist at Fellowship Health Resources Inc., and as the northeast director of Peer Recovery Services. Ortiz and FHR received $10,000 in funding for the award, money that will be used to continue to support Ortiz and FHR’s work, the release noted.

“Sharing my lived experience with peers shows the commonality, it shows that we’re mutual. It shows that my past and what I’ve overcome isn’t so far from what they are experiencing,” Ortiz said.

“I am so grateful for this award and recognition, and look forward to continuing to be an advocate for individuals in FHR’s care,” he said.

Debra M. Paul, FHR president and CEO, said, “FHR congratulates Robert Ortiz for this tremendous achievement.”

She continued, “With his help, FHR will continue to stay actively engaged in the recruiting and hiring of individuals with lived experience, and are resolute that partnerships in wellness and recovery, built upon shared experiences, improve the quality of life of the individuals we serve.”