Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

Coastal Care

Name of Innovative Program: 
The Peer Recovery Center
Sponsoring Organization
Coastal Care
Name of Innovative Program Lead: 
The Peer Support Specialists of Carteret County
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead: 
kirsten.fagiano@gmail.com
Project Description: 
The Peer Recovery Center provides multifaceted, symbiotic support services designed to fill the gaps that exist between other service providers. We serve individuals who self-identify as desiring assistance with negative life experiences, or who have been referred by outside entities as deemed appropriate.  The peer approach is derived from our  lived experiences, and just as successful addiction support groups rely on the ability to walk in another's shoes, so follows the efficacy of the peer  model .  As peers, we have personal knowledge of what works vs. what is  "broken" in the mental health system.  We offer services that are cost-effective to third party payees via utilization of paraprofessionals and ease of access to individuals and families.  We strive to maintain a visible, consistent and stable venue in the face of an ever-changing, often difficult to negotiate system, while remaining flexible enough to meet the wide variety of community needs that we are tasked with.  The PRC has an ambitious scope of  services provided on the basis of similar life experiences.  The hope that peers can provide each other in difficult times is unparralleled.  This is by far the most valuable thing that we have to offer.
Creativity and Innovation: 
The very nature of a peer-to-peer recovery center is innovative.  Only recently have shared experiences been valued in therapeutic circles.  The PRC concept dares to challenge the US and THEM mentality that has long stigmatized people who have experienced mental illness and adverse social situations.  We encourage our support staff to self-disclose as they feel comfortable, which is contrary to the strict "Client/Staff" boundaries in other treatment settings.  Peer-to-peer services are leading a paradigm shift that transitions society from a sick/well, insane/sane ideology to a more accurate picture of a spectrum of adjustment and functioning that varies for all of us based on any variety of factors at any given moment.
Leadership: 
At The Peer Recovery Center, our vision is that peer-to-peer services become the standard for best practices in behavioral health and substance abuse services.  With the drastic changes and budget issues that are increasingly occurring in health insurance coverage and funding for community mental health services, even individuals and groups without a vested interest in person-centeredness and individually tailored service provision is swayed by the movement towards the peer model.  Those with a vested interest, i.e. individuals themselves and those with family members who interact with the current mental health system, are frustrated with the current situation.  Consistency and accessibiltiy is the key to gaining support and becoming leaders in the behavioral health arena. 
Sustainability: 
The model of The Peer Recovery Center was created as a direct result of the frustration expressed by local community leaders.  The local hospital emergency department, local therapist, Department of Social Services, specifically Adult Protective Services, County Commissioners and local law enforcement have asked repeatedly for a fully staffed mental health center in our immediate area.  We will recieve continued support and endorsement from these entities.  All of these entities have a vested interest in The PRC's success.  Grants are readily available for persons that are in various forms of recovery, and a recent Dept. of Justice Ruling has ensured that Peer Support Specialists be a primary, financially reimbursable, paraprofessional support service in the community.
Replicability: 
The Peer Recovery Center model is not a complicated one.  Training and Certification is readily available in most areas and online to become a certified PSS.  Tailoring service provision to local community needs is what is necessary to successfully replicate this model in any community
Results/Outcomes: 
Some measurable outcomes include frequency and duration of psychiatric episodes that present in the local hospital emergency room, survey and interview of persons engaged in services that measure levels of frustration with "the system" upon intake and several months later and time elapsed between intake and service access.
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