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On Our Own, Together

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.
Product Details

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. - Connecticut Yvette Sangster; 10. BRIDGES - Tennessee Louetta Hix; Part V. Conclusion; 11. Common Ingredients as a Fidelity Measure Matthew Johnsen, Gregory Teague, and Elizabeth McDonel Herr; 12. With Us: Where are We Going? Sally Clay, Bonnie Schell, Pat Corrigan, and Jean Campbell

About 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, she worked as a therapist for Windhorse Associates, an alternative treatment program, and was a founder of Altered States of the Arts.


"This is a book like no other. While it contains most all the knowledge one would need to develop successful peer programs, it also addresses the philosophy, values, and passion one needs to do it. 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; "On Our Own, Together is an important book providing us with an understanding of the philosophy, work and healing power of peer-run programs. Rising up from the lived experience of people diagnosed with major mental disorders, these peer programs have evolved over decades. Sally Clay and her co-authors teach us about the principles and practices that form the common ground for all these programs while also highlighting some of the differences between them." - Patricia E. Deegan, Ph.D."

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