Patty Schaeffer wins 2017 Recovery
Champion Award

Her work in Peer Support proves everyone wins when working together against mental illness and addiction

Living with addiction and mental illness is not easy. Nobody needs to do it alone. Through Peer Support programs, people strengthen their own substance use and mental health recovery by guiding others dealing with similar issues. Peers are making recovery a movement.

Patty Schaeffer of Cleveland County, NC received a state Recovery Champion Award for years of professional and volunteer service promoting mental health and substance use recovery. She was nominated by her professional and personal recovery colleague, Stephanie Rhodes, Director of Peer Support Services, Mental Health Association in Greensboro.

“As a mental health professional, I realize the heart and the passion that working in this field requires,” said Rhodes. “Patty not only shares that heart, but is also the picture of hard work, dedication, transparency, advocacy, and co-occurring recovery.”

Working for Recovery

Along with leading a recovery-oriented, peer-operated North Carolina nonprofit organization, teaching Peer Support classes, and serving on various committees and boards, Patty is currently the chair of Partners Health Management’s Consumer and Family Advisory Committee. The advisory committee includes volunteers who have received or currently receive services, or are family members of these consumers. They advocate for consumers and their families in every aspect of planning and delivering services for mental health, intellectual or developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and substance use. The committee also advises Partners and the state on improving policies and service effectiveness. See the full list of Patty’s activities in substance use and mental health recovery below.

Pictured with Patty Schaeffer (middle) after receiving the award, are Jim Harrison, Conference Planning Committee (right), and Stephanie Rhodes, Director of Peer Support Services, Mental Health Association in Greensboro. (left). The 9th Annual NC ‘One Community in Recovery’ Conference award ceremony was held on November 9, 2017, in Clemmons, NC.


  • Received a Volunteer Service Award for Cleveland County
  • Received a Bridge Builders Award from Mayor Philbeck of Shelby, NC
  • Led Disaster Relief and formed a local “Adopt a Community” program
  • Became a lifetime member of the National Safety Professionals Association
  • Serves as Executive Director of WellSurgent: a non-profit organization
  • Certified as a Peer Support Specialist through North Carolina’s Peer Support Specialist Program


  • Consumer and Family Advisory Committee (Partners Health Management)—Chair
  • State Consumer and Family Advisory Committee—Member
  • Human Services Technology Developmental Disabilities Program (Gaston College)—Board Member
  • Veterans & Families Coalition NC—Secretary
  • Leadership Fellows Academy—Fellow
  • Alcoholics Anonymous women’s retreat in Old Fort NC—Chair
  • Cleveland Adult Collaborative for MH/SUD/IDD&TBI—Vice Chair
  • Peer Support Learning Coalition: “Peers to Pearls”—Chair


  • 12 Step Medicine Wheel Elder of Alcoholics Anonymous for the Native American
  • Mental Health First Aid Instructor for adult and youth mental health
  • Question, Persuade, Refer Instructor for suicide prevention training
  • SMART® Recovery Facilitator leading self-empowering addiction recovery support groups
  • WRAP® Advanced Level Facilitator for creating a self-designed prevention and wellness tool

Join the Recovery Movement

To see how you can help yourself, another person, or a community recover, learn more about becoming a peer through the NC Certified Peer Support Specialist Program, different ways to become an advocate, and the peer-operated nonprofit organization WellSurgent.