Peer Support Centers in Tennessee
Definition of a Peer Support Center
Peer Support Centers are peer-run programs where individuals who have lived experience with mental illness or both mental illness and substance use disorder develop their own recovery-based programs to supplement existing mental health services, address issues such as social isolation and discrimination, and provide opportunities for personal and educational enhancement, peer support, and socialization. The Peer Support Centers are 100% staffed by people who have lived experience with mental illness or both mental illness and substance use disorder.
A Peer Support Center is a central place where peers can find recovery education, peer support, and opportunities for socialization. Through the Peer Support Centers, peers expand the resources of the community by developing their own programs to supplement existing mental health services. A Peer Support Center also provides socialization opportunities that addresses the isolation felt by many mental health peers. Peers can find the emotional support they need to help them move forward in their recovery. It is open to all mental health peers with no admission fee or membership fee charged. A Peer Support Center is open a minimum of 24 hours a week and provides a place where people can come together to learn about recovery, find support, make friends and socialize.
Peer Support Centers have various activities as their primary focus:
- Recovery Education. Trained Certified Peer Recovery Specialists lead recovery education in classes such as the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®), the BRIDGES psycho-education course, Illness Management and Recovery (IMR), or the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP). Other topics covered might include stress management, anger management, dealing with grief, etc. and sometimes include outside speakers.
- Peer Support. Support groups are offered at each Peer Support Center, which help to provide the emotional support that peers need from someone who can relate to what they may be going through. In addition, trained Peer Recovery Specialists provide a positive role model of a peer in recovery. When needed, Peer Recovery Specialist staff members can meet one-on-one with peers.
- Volunteerism. Each Peer Support Center participates in volunteer activities throughout the year, such as visiting residents of a nursing home, sorting food at a food bank, or picking up trash in the neighborhood. This provides an opportunity to reap the benefits that come from giving to others and to stay connected with their community.
- Social activities. The Peer Support Center provides a place for people to make friends and have fun. Social activities sometimes include participating in local community activities, sporting events, or visiting local community sites.
- Advocacy. Advocacy involves helping another person get what they need. Sometimes peers may feel more comfortable stating their needs to peer staff than to treatment providers. The Peer Support Center provides a safe place where people can ask for what they need.
- Artistic Endeavors. Opportunities are often provided to develop creative skills and experience art as a form of relaxation and creativity.
For a list of Peer Support Centers in Tennessee, click here.