Our team is dedicated to helping people with OCD get the peer support they need to fuel their recovery. But just who are our team members, and where does their individual and collective passion for mental health and peer support come from?

Melissa Hunter, Founder, Peer Leader

Melissa’s background…

Melissa Hunter Co-Founder Peer LeaderIn addition to being a Peer, she is also a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of CO and FL. She also provides ERP therapy in the UK and other countries. She specializes in the treatment of OCD using Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) therapy. You can learn more about her therapy practice at countercurrentcbt.com.

“As a peer, I have been where you are! Having suffered for decades with anxiety and depression and the shame and stigma of it, I know how challenging it can be to feel understood and to feel better. Through my own journey, I discovered that my interests and talents lie in helping others discover how to create lives with meaning and enjoyment. I became a Peer Specialist in 2014 and fell in love with this career. I find happiness and peace knowing that my experience can be used to help you become your best self. I am amazed at and appreciative of the resiliency, strength, and courage that people with OCD have and hope to help as many people as I can!

Why are you so passionate about peer support?

I believe peer support provides a special connection between people that helps to promote recovery. Peers can understand symptoms and challenges in ways that clinicians often miss because of the peer’s lived experience. Peers can connect through their lived experience and challenge me to move forward in my recovery at the same time.

What are your favorite coping tools?

5,4,3,2,1 Grounding Exercises. This keeps me in the present moment. It’s impossible to worry about the future or think about the past if I am grounded in the “now.” I love yoga. I try to run about 150 yards a day. Why 150 yards? Because that’s as long as I enjoy it.

What are your favorite OCD/mental health resources? 

Jon Herschfield’s “The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD” is great, as is Edna Foa’s “Stop Obsessing!”

What are your pop culture interests?

I love watching live college basketball. New Mexico State University has been especially fun to watch the last couple of years. I like all kinds of music, except country music (ewww☹). I’m into birding and want to have a Big Year once COVID is over. I am pretty enamored with British television at the moment, maybe it’s because Princess Diana was my 9th cousin…

How do you have fun in your free time?

Salsa and Bachata dancing, Pickleball, snorkeling

Neil Hemmer, Peer Leader

Neil’s background…

Neil Hemmer Peer LeaderNeil began to experience mental health difficulties at a very young age and his childhood was, ‘saturated’, with anxiety and disturbing intrusive thoughts. At the age of 13 Neil was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; battling this disorder led to him being diagnosed with a severe Substance Use Disorder at the age of 18. Left untreated and unchecked, both of these afflictions flourished until Neil checked himself into an inpatient dual-diagnosis treatment facility at the age of 25.

Despite these strenuous challenges, Neil excelled in school and received his Masters’ degree in Social Work in 2019, participated in a trauma-informed behavioral health fellowship during that same year, spent two years working as an emergency crisis therapist and remains active in a variety of volunteer and advocacy programs.

Neil is well-versed in both crisis management and group facilitation.

Neil’s OCD themes…

Religious scrupulosity, Harm OCD, Contamination OCD, Relationship OCD, Sexually violent intrusive thoughts

Why are you so passionate about peer support?

As a trained therapist myself, I think peer support is something missing/needed in the realm of professional help. There are certain ethical limitations when it comes to self-disclosure and personal testimony under my professional licensure, but with peer support, I can be even more authentically myself and relate to my participants on such a deeper, more emotionally fulfilling, level. I have lived through a lot and just want everyone to know that they’re never alone in their struggles.

What are your favorite coping tools?

Mindfulness practices, cold showers, long walks, forest bathing, and oodles of video games/distraction techniques/healthy outlets

What are your favorite OCD/mental health resources?

NotAloneNotes, OCDopus, The OCD Stories, Young Adult OCD Support Group, intrusivethoughts.org… gosh, the list goes on and on.

What are your pop culture interests?

Marvel/DC, Superheroes, any cartoon you can imagine, Skyrim, XBOX1, Jurassic Park (big dino nerd)

How do you have fun in your free time?

GOING OUTDOORS… hiking, camping, skating, biking, swimming, beach going, rock climbing, sailing, jetskiing, tubing, stargazing. Also… playing videogames

Ready to try online peer support?

Learn more about us and sign up for one of our groups and sign up at OCDPeers.com.

We’d love to hear your story!

The OCD community needs brave voices who are willing to share their experience. If you’re interested in sharing your OCD story, contact us here.