Joyce Briggs, NCCPSS

I am Joyce Briggs, born in South Carolina and have been in the Durham Area for the past 9 years. Moved here from Atlanta to be closer to my family. My journey to wellness has taken me down a long road of abuse, mental illness, low self-esteem, and apprehensiveness. I had a fairly normal childhood with love from my parents and grandparents. Sheltered and immature I married at 26 to a man who became abusive and a user of drugs and alcohol. When I experienced coming home to a "knock side of my head" is when I finally got the courage to leave him to get away from him and better myself. That is when I had enough; I had to get out of his house, this situation. I did not want to become a statistic, abused and dead. I was at rock bottom when I moved back home with Momma and Daddy. I talked to my pastor, my parents, my brothers and friends and they all had great and positive feedback. I had a good support system. It took me 5 years to get over the trauma of this relationship and I thought I learned my lesson. But no! I ran into him again and fell back in love. Married him again, crazy right. The same thing started happening again, but this time it ended differently. I told him to get out because this time it was my home. Today, I am free of him and with the grace of God, have a stronger self-esteem, a clear road to wellness and desire to help others who may have or are currently going through the same thing. Now that I am in love with myself, I don't see having this type of experience again. I hope that I can help others overcome their addiction to painful relationships with my words of encouragement. As a peer support specialist facilitator, I want to make your learning experiences eye-opening, I come with a lot of experience, resources, encouragement, and support. 

Bryon Bellamy, NCCPSS

Hi, I'm Bryon Bellamy. I was born in Ancon, Republic of Panama and grew up being part of a wonderful military family. We settled in NC and I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My story began in college where I experienced depression, isolation, self-sabotage, and PTSD. In college, I became well known for being the life of the party, ignoring my inner voice saying I needed to slow down and pay attention to who was in my circle. One night during one of my parties, I received a call from a friend I called brother. He told me he would be driving that night and would call me back because he needed to stay up while driving. I found out thennext morning he passed and blamed myself. Prior to him passing, I started to realize how people were using me and only wanted me around for their benefit. During this party even though I was laughing and engaging I felt alone. For some time, afterwards, I started to abuse alcohol and isolate myself. It wasn't until one-night walking with some friends that I realized I needed some real help. They helped me realize I wasn't well and needed support. I decided to go home to spend time with my family and while there I started receiving therapy.

I learned about peer support from a friend and was immediately interested. I realized that was what my friends did for me and I wanted to be able to do it for others. Since becoming certified I have been able to work with peers in the community. It has been amazing to be able to use my real-life experiences from college, at UNC-CH, and 
post-college to help peers navigate their own personal recoveries. As I work with peers I have been able to experience the positive impact that peer-to-peer relationships are able to make. While advocating for peers, who are on their mental health and substance abuse recovery journey, it has been a joy to see many hold firm to the new standards and skills they have developed. It helps me to maintain my recovery. I also spend time with the youth in the community as an ACT/SAT prep teacher and use the knowledge that I've gained in the CPSS field to impact this younger generation beyond their academic goals. My goal is to share my experiences and enable peers to become equipped to use their story to help others succeed on their journey to recovery.

Elliot Palmer, NCCPSS 
Elliot is a dedicated professional in the field of peer support with the knowledge and skills necessary for supporting individuals who are struggling with substance use disorders and other mental health diagnoses. He is certified in peer support by the State of North Carolina and serves as a peer support training facilitator. Elliot is the founder and lead facilitator of A.N.S.W.E.R. (A New Start While Empowering Recovery) which provides W.R.A.P. (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) training. To date, he has trained hundreds of individuals in peer support and W.R.A.P. plan development, aiding in the promotion of wellness and education. His previous experience in office management highlights his leadership and expertise with interpersonal communication and organization, both required skills in peer support work. He has a commitment to helping others in their recovery efforts and has spent many years doing so, increasing his ability to assist individuals with acknowledging their strengths, identifying community resources, and implementing learned strategies to support health and wellness. He is also trained in housing assistance and other services necessary for assisting peers, in addition to being a motivational speaker, an entrepreneur, and a consultant. Elliot’s experience demonstrates his passion for service and capacity to deliver high-quality education that will prepare individuals for work as a peer support specialist. 

​​​Let NC-H.O.P.E. prepare you to become

a certified peer support specialist! 

  • Do you want to help people? 
  • Would you like a rewarding career? 
  • Can you inspire others with your life experiences? 
  • Do you need PSS training to apply for NCCPSS Certification?

Please note: In order to be certified by the state of North Carolina, you are also required to complete an additional 20-hrs of training in a related field. Learn more now.  

Meet the Facilitators​