Richie Tannerhill is a Peer Trainer at Vaya Health, a public managed healthcare organization. Tannerhill supports individuals recovering from mental health and or addiction barriers find understanding, support and hope to rebuild their lives.
Tannerhill understands these struggles all too well – for 27 years, drugs and alcohol and mental health challenges ruled his life. He quit school at age 16, spent time in prison and mental health facilities and has experienced homelessness. In prison, he encountered the concept of peer support – the idea that people in recovery can benefit from the support of trained specialists who themselves have real-life experience with mental illness or a substance use disorder.
Tannerhill became an N.C. Certified Peer Support Specialist in 2012. Today, he’s also a peer support curriculum trainer and a certified facilitator for Wellness Recovery Action Plan® trainings, a
self-directed recovery and wellness process. In 2013, he was named an N.C. Recovery Champion of the Year. A Haywood County resident, Tannerhill has been free of alcohol and drugs for more than 10 years and is a husband, father, youth pastor and Little League coach. He visits schools, treatment facilities, jails and other institutions to share his story of hope with others.
Most important to Tannerhill are the people with whom he has an opportunity to support – individuals, especially young people, who are struggling today as he did in the past. “I remember what it was like to be hopeless,” Tannerhill said. “I know now we are all worth more than that and have the right to have hope, happiness and joy in life.”
Relation to the Addiction, SUD, Treatment, Recovery Support Community