On Our Own, Together: Peer Programs for People with Mental Illness

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On Our Own, Together describes the inner workings of eight successful peer-run services for mental health consumers, including drop-in centers, educational programs, and peer support/mentoring programs. Written by people who developed such programs, it reveals these services as a valuable resource within the mental health system and a precious necessity for many consumers.

The book clusters the COSPs into three key types: drop-in centers, which provide varied services for their members, including meals, housing assistance, and stigma-free environments; educational programs, which train mental health consumers in recovery skills for themselves and for other consumers; and services based on peer support and mentoring.

Despite their differences, the book shows, the programs share many essential characteristics. Most significantly, they demonstrate the benefits of allowing mental health consumers to operate and govern their own organizations. Also important is their emphasis on equality, mutuality, empowerment, recovery, belonging, and hope in administering services. Such core values, the book suggests, distinguish peer-run programs from the professional services that have long dominated the mental health system.

In contrast to the dry, clinical reports that make up much of the current literature, this book is written "from the inside out" and, for the most part, by the people who developed the programs and who live them every day. It reveals peer-run programs as valuable resources within the mental health system and, indeed, a precious necessity for many consumers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

It is refreshing to read a comprehensive text of success stories. The book is outstanding in its scope and vision for how these programs can help consumers enjoy more fulfilling lives in spite of limitations.
--Psychiatric Services

This is a book like no other. The various examples of peer programs weave together to tell the larger story of how and why peer programs do work.
-William A. Anthony, Director, Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826514660
  • Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press (TN)
  • Publication date: 5/28/2005
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sally Clay has been a leader in the mental health consumer/survivor movement for over twenty years. Instrumental in founding three consumer-run organizations-- the Portland Coalition in Maine, PEOPLE in upstate New York, and the PEER Center in Florida--she worked as a therapist for Windhorse Associates, an alternative treatment program, and was a founder of Altered States of the Arts.
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Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction and Background

1. About Us: What We Have in Common
Sally Clay

2. The Historical and Philosophical Development of Peer-run Programs
Jean Campbell

Part II. Drop-In Centers

3. Mental Health Client Action Network (MHCAN) - Santa Cruz, California
Bonnie Schell

4. Portland Coalition for the Psychiatrically Labeled - Portland, Maine
Janine Elkanich

5. The St. Louis Empowerment Center - St. Louis, Missouri
Helen Minth

6. The Peer Center, Inc. - Oakland Park, Florida
Compiled by Bonnie Schell, Nancy Erwin, PEER Center directors and staff

Part III. Peer Support and Mentoring Services

7. GROW in Illinois
Con Keogh, Lorraine Keck, Joan Baynes, and Carol Mussey

8. Friends Connection - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jeanie Whitecraft, Terrance Means, James Scott, Bill Burns-Lynch, Joseph Rogers, and Mark S. Salzer

Part IV. Educational Programs

9. Advocacy Unlimited, Inc. - Connect

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2005

    Something About Us

    This book is written by and for people who are consumer/survivors of mental health treatment. We have adopted the disability rights slogan, 'Nothing About Us Without Us!'. We are part of a movement to transform a failed healthcare system through peer support and advocacy. We seek to create programs 'on our own,' together with all people who aspire to help others as they help themselves.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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