State by State Links for Free Mental Health Drop In Centers at bottom.

aljewelingtable(I learned Jewelry making at my Drop-In Center)…they have dbt too. free.

Drop-In Peer Centers for Behavioral Health: An Exploding Trend

Allison Strong

One of the reasons I am glad that I moved to Florida is that it led me to a peer run drop in center near my house called Rebel’s Drop In. In my small county, Broward, between Palm Beach and Miami-Dade, we have 5 of these centers. Peer run drop in centers average 5 per state, see the links below to find one near you.

Mindfulness, OA, NAMI Connection Peer-to-Peer, and a 14-year running Schizophrenics Anonymous meeting are there.  I learned to make jewelry and took new and improved pieces to Etsy, Holiday Gifts and my own wardrobe.  They have Peer Mentoring there, free of charge, to help you reach goals you may have forgotten about in crisis or not.  I have a Peer Mentor, who is someone who has been in my shoes, psychiatrically, and we get together to go over my goals on a variety of fronts. One of the most challenging for me is to ‘widen my social circle.” I’m making progress.

Does it sound too good to be true? No, it’s not and it’s an exploding, well-researched trend. So who picks up the tab?  The programs are subsidized by grants from the state, who always want a list of printed names and signatures, times and dates, so when you go there, make sure you sign the list. Every signature helps them get grants so they can expand and maintain their offerings.

These places are usually in a building owned by a local hospital for outpatient or continuing behavioral care in different tracks called IOP (Intense Outpatient Treatment paid for by insurance and Medicare/Medicaid). Then, after the patients leave, the aroma of coffee fills the air, the colored crayons come out, and food from Memorial regional Hospital arrives to feed those who have little or no sustenance in the grand room.  I’ve eaten it often and it’s always balanced.

In addition to the grand room, where painting, crafts, socializing, and jewelry is done, there are perhaps six private rooms holding various self-help/support meetings until 7:30PM. (Bipolar Support, Emotions Anonymous, Depression Support, Life Skills are just a few). On the weekends, since there is no IOP in session, the hours of the center are bit different.  In the words of Deanne O’Brien, who overcame her own mental health nightmare, (which is one prerequisite for Peer Mentors and Supervisors) “No one is too sick to attend Rebel’s Drop In.” I really believe that.

I’m on Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr communicating with people with mental illness. Many have never heard of these drop in centers.  My friends and I go once or twice a week, drink coffee, bring donuts and gossip. We never know when we’ll be in-patient next, and it’s good to see all the faces of our illness. We are so grateful that the late Ann Rebel’s family gave a charitable endowment to Memorial Regional Hospital, for the purpose of continuing mental health care, Peer Mentoring, and WRAP planning (Wellness Recovery, Action Plan).

If you are curious to see if any of these sorts of arts-oriented facilities exist in your city, county or in a town near you, try these links:

 

Topic:

Art

Bipolar Disorder

Consumer

Jo Menary|Tue, 2015-02-24 21:26

Allison, I am so proud of you. What great information and encouragement you are sharing. Keep is going! Jo

  • reply
  • michael |Sun, 2015-03-29 06:43

Great Job Allison. I am so proud of you not only for your informational writing but also fro you willingness to help others find the support they may need to help them in their lives as they deal with the same illnesses you suffer from! Love Michael, your Husband!

  • reply
  • Maggie|Sun, 2015-03-29 07:05

Looks like you dug around to get all this info. Thanks for making it available for us.

  • reply
  • jennifer blake|Mon, 2015-03-30 08:44

I love rebels! discovered it when I got out of mental hosp….wish they had one in boston where my son lives…this place saved me from myself many thanx Alison for great info!

Write On

I am back to writing my book. I was lost for a while and then reread “Haldol and Hyacinths,” because I wanted to see and hear the author’s voice. My book is not a memoir, it’s a trilogy of fiction with a manic depressive character who is still in the workplace. I am feeling like I am hitting my stride. Finding my own voice. It’s actually in rewrite.  I have bipolar disorder and have had it for twenty five years. The first med regime worked really well for ten years. I was actually seeing my GP for my meds. When the meds stopped working, I was lost for another three years and then got back on track and returned to work.

Earlier last week, I went to Lexington to see my father, who is a little up and down himself.  So I didn’t write for five days. I am spending about four hours a day on my book which is making it so that I don’t blog as often. But I did turn in a part one and part two eating disorder exercise bulimia blog to International bipolar foundation. It turns out that as many as 14-20% of patients with bipolar disorder actually have a co-occurring eating disorder. I’d been working on that piece, #no longer a number# for quite some time. I’m cooking right now, taking a few minutes away from the stove and hoping I don’t get burned. (my food, I mean.)

Now that my antipsychotic has pushed me half way to diabetes, I have to be really careful of what I eat and mostly cook for myself …another thing that takes time away from my reading and writing.

myself