Last Month, NAMI South Bay had the pleasure of a visit at its general meeting from a Winston Taw, a Peer Specialist of Project Return Peer Support Network to discuss the Hacienda of Hope and Hope Well projects. The meeting was informative and reassuring. Project Return Peer Support Network promotes wellness, personal growth and self-determination for people who have experienced mental illness by providing social opportunities, education, and community involvement. Mr. Taw explained that Project Return believes in diversity, acceptance, advocacy and empowerment while encouraging people to transform their lives.
As people who have experienced both sides of the mental health system (“been there, done that”) Project Return provides hope, education, and direct support to those living with mental illness. Its members stand beside others, not as experts, but as true peers who continue to live this journey every day. Project Return’s programs helps people with mental illness build a base of support among their peers – to share goals, conquer fears, and celebrate successes. Its services demonstrate the importance of peer support programs as an integral part of mental health systems.
Project Return offers ever-widening circles of integration and empowerment. The two programs Mr. Taw discussed at the NAMI South Bay meeting were:
- Hacienda of Hope – Hacienda of Hope is a short-term, residential peer respite program in Long Beach, CA, for people in crisis who are living with mental illness. The environment is welcoming and safe, and the program is staffed by peers with lived experience. Hacienda of Hope provides a unique and healing alternative to hospitalization, through the power of peer support. For more information call: (562) 388-8180.
- Hope Well – Hope Well, co-located with Hacienda of Hope in Long Beach, CA, is an information and resource center managed by peers. This program provides linkage to community services and is open to anyone in need of assistance. A peer specialist will work with you to develop an individualized action plan and monitor your progress as you work toward your goals. For more information call: (562) 388-8180.
In addition, Project Return offers the following additional services:
- Self-Help Groups – More than 100 self-help groups stretch across Los Angeles County, putting Peer Support within easy reach of interested individuals. The groups meet weekly in a variety of locations. These peer support groups can often become the first steps toward recovery, self-help, and wellness. The groups are tailored to bilingual individuals, young adults, and anyone living with mental illness.
- Warm Line – The Warm Line is LA County’s first after-hours telephone Warm Line for people living with mental health issues. There are two toll-free numbers available Monday through Friday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm: (888) 448-9777 for English speakers and (888) 448-4055 for Spanish speakers.
- Community Integration Program – Peer Bridgers in the Community Integration Program provide one-on-one and group support to peers living in Institutes and other locked facilities including Metropolitan State Hospital and Twin Towers.
- El Centrito de Apoyo operates a Spanish language center, located in Huntington Park. It is a social and educational hub providing members an opportunity to develop wellness skills and to reconnect with their strengths and abilities.
- Un Paso Mas provides culturally appropriate mental health and educational services to the diverse, greater Los Angeles communities of Huntington Park, Bell, Bell Gardens, South Gate, Maywood, Vernon and Cudahy with a focus on the needs of families.
- Bill’s Corner, named in honor of William H. Compton, Jr., is a clubhouse where people can relax while playing games, socializing and connecting with each other.
- Training – Working with LADMH, Project Return provides three levels of Peer Advocate Training, giving peers the professional skills they need to pursue careers within the mental health system. It also provides training on Wellness Recovery Action Planning within its other programs including The Hacienda of Hope. In addition, Project Return can provide training to organizations and agencies on stigma reduction, community advocacy, and the nuts and bolts of developing peer-run organizations.
- REMINDER: Meeting Tonight with Peer Specialist from Project Return Peer Support Network (namisouthbay.com)
- “Persuasive” Evidence for Peer Support (madinamerica.com)
- Service User or Peer Specialist? (alternativeroutestorecovery.wordpress.com)
- What does the dept of mental health say about peer support (hopeworkscommunity.wordpress.com)
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