Since its beginnings, Perry Wellness Center has operated as a support program operated for and by peers. A large number of staff are certified peer specialists, with their own histories of mental illness or substance abuse. In addition, peers enrolled in the program are involved in everything from their personal goals to planning activities for the center. On a recent Monday morning, peers participated in a Walk and Talk with peer specialist Brittany McCumber. After gathering their coats, peers exited the classroom for a walk and discussion. Along the way, the group paused to discuss ideas for the coming months, as well as chit-chat about the previous weekend.
Upon return to the classroom, the groups made a list of discussion topics for upcoming months. The schedule includes the following:
February – Activities of daily living, including proper home maintenance and laundering procedures.
March – Mentoring and helping others, along with application for and retention of drivers’ licenses.
April – Cooking class and planning for a cook-off.
May – Showing acts of kindness to others.
June – Volunteerism.
July – Planning for a community and campus cleanup.
August – Anger management strategies.
September – Review of 12 steps of alcohol and drug recovery.
October – Continued discussion on recovery principles and possible scenarios.
November – Review of mental health recovery principles.
December – Continued discussion of mental health recovery, including terms of recovery plans.
Perry Wellness Center founder and CEO Stuart Perry proudly notes, “Perry Wellness Center truly IS peer-run.”
Brittany agrees and states, “The January group turned out to be a great time of sharing the things that might be hindering some aspect of our peer recovery. It was a good group!”
In the photo above, Brittany McCumber prints a reminder of suggested discussion topics on the dry erase board.