What are peer respites?
A peer respite is a voluntary, short-term, overnight program that provides community-based, non-clinical crisis support to help people find new understanding and ways to move forward. It operates 24 hours per day in a homelike environment.
Peer respites are staffed and operated by people with psychiatric histories or who have experienced trauma and/or extreme states. This means that...
100% of staff have lived experience of extreme states and/or the behavioral health system
All individuals in program/house management positions have lived experience of extreme states and/or the mental health system
Job descriptions for program/house management positions require lived experience of extreme states and/or the mental health system
The peer respite is either operated by a peer-run organization OR has an advisory group with 51% or more members having lived experience of extreme states and/or the behavioral health system
A program or organization in which a majority of persons who oversee the organization’s operation and are in positions of control have lived experience of extreme states and/or the mental health system.
People with lived experience of extreme states and/or the mental health system constitute a majority of the board or advisory group, and the director and a majority of staff, including volunteers, must identify as people lived experience of extreme states and/or the mental health system.
See works cited at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201400080
Why are there peer respites?
Peer respites were designed as psychiatric hospital diversion programs to support individuals experiencing or at-risk of a psychiatric crisis. The premise behind peer respites is that psychiatric emergency services can be avoided if less coercive or intrusive supports are available in the community.
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How do peer respites work?
Peer respites engage guests in mutual, trusting relationships with peer staff. Peer support involves a process of mutual helping based on the principles of respect and shared responsibility. Peer support includes interactions in which individuals help themselves and others through fostering relationships and engaging in advocacy to empower people to participate in their communities.
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About this Webite
This website was created to have an organized space for information about peer respites in the United States.
Consensus panel on inclusion criteria:
A panel of experts in peer support research, training, advocacy, and program administration developed these specific criteria. This consensus panel examined program structures and policies and considered the tradition and history of the consumer/survivor movement in creating and operating alternatives to traditional mental health services. All of the panel members have experience working in or with peer respites and peer-run organizations in the U.S.
Contributors and Advisory Group:
Sera Davidow, Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community
Chris Hansen, Intentional Peer Support
Bevin Croft, Research Associate, Human Services Research Institute
Special thanks to Keris Myrick of SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services for her input.