Columbus Competition
Aetna Voices of Health Competition

The PEER Center (Peers Enriching Each others' Recovery)

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The PEER Center (Peers Enriching Each others' Recovery)

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The PEER Center (TPC) is a consumer operated drop-in wellness, recovery, and support center for those living in recovery with mental illness, addiction, and trauma. We opened in January 2007 as part of a traditional mental health services agency, and became an independent, non-profit agency in January 2010.

We serve as a place where our associates (those who use our services) can learn about their illness or addiction, talk about their struggles and recovery, and spend time with others who have "walked the walk" to improve their lives.

All TPC personnel, including leadership, have a lived experience of mental illness, addiction, and/or trauma. We know what our associates are going through because we have been through it ourselves. This allows us to understand and support our peers in a unique and personal way. Through education and peer support, we empower others to take control of their own recovery. We offer a friendly, safe, and non-judgmental place where our associates don't have to be alone, feel stigmatized, or hide what they are struggling with.

We have two drop-in locations in Columbus, Ohio, one on the east side (in Whitehall) and one on the west side (in Franklinton). We are open every day, 365 days a year, and everyone is welcome.

We are open every day and welcome anyone who needs us. If you are mentally ill and symptomatic, addicted and struggling not to use, or if you just feel alone, what can you do? If you contact a clinician, it might be days, weeks, or longer before you can receive help, and friends and family often do not understand.

Someone who is struggling can come to TPC for immediate support. Our mission is to provide a safe place where individuals receive respect, encouragement, and hope that supports and strengthens their recovery in mental illness, addictions, and trauma. We provide a friendly and safe place where our associates (those who use our services) don't have to be alone, feel stigmatized, or hide what they are struggling with. They can just be who they are, and do regular activities, like playing a card game, watching TV, or sharing a cup of coffee. At TPC, all are welcome, everyone matters, and this is absolutely a no-judgment zone.

We offer group and one-on-one peer support. Across both locations, we have over 50 activity, support, and wellness groups per month. Our support offerings include targeted groups for veterans, LGBTQ individuals, and restored citizens (those who have been involved with the criminal justice system). Our activity options are equally varied and include a knitting club, Tai Chi, and opportunities for artistic expression. In addition to the mental health of our associates, we support their physical health by offering group exercise opportunities throughout the day, health education such as AIDS/HIV information, and resources for quitting smoking. We also give our associates a resource center, computer lab, telephone access, and a different off-site recreational activity every month.

All of our services are completely free and no appointments are needed.

The PEER Center began in January 2007 when Columbus Area, a traditional mental health services agency, received a grant to open a Consumer Operated Service Center (COS) as part of their programming. The COS offered a space where anyone struggling was welcome to visit and participate in various activities. This area was staffed with "peer recovery supporters," employees who had a lived experience of mental illness, addiction, and/or trauma.

Due to their personal experiences and histories, these employees were able to relate to patients in a unique way. Many visitors benefited from simply being able to talk to someone who really understood what they were going through. The peer support program became increasingly popular and soon overflowed the single room it was assigned. In August 2009, The PEER Center was granted non-profit status and in January 2010, The PEER Center began independent operations.

Over the years, our programs have expanded far beyond 3 employees in a single room. Demand for this type of unique environment continues to rise. We operate two drop in centers, both of which are open 365 days a year, and have 29 full time staff members, all of whom self-identify as living in recovery with mental illness, addiction, and/or trauma.

We offer a wide variety of peer support services and activities and serve over 150 people per day.

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The PEER Center (Peers Enriching Each others' Recovery)

Please visit www.thepeercenter.org for more info. Please contact Lisa Kiner at (614) 453-4834 with any questions.

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