Transforming Lives - The Newsletter of The Harris Center Issue 2 - Fall 2016 - Page 4

The P.E.E.R.S. For Hope House - Meeting an unmet need Kim Tope is a licensed master social worker and a certified anger resolution therapist. More pertinent to her current role at The Harris Center, Kim is also a certified peer specialist who uses her own lived experience in recovery from mental illness to help those who find themselves in need of support and treatment through a one-of-a-kind program in Texas known as The P.E.E.R.S. for Hope House. “I never dreamed a job would exist for which a qualification is having a mental health diagnosis. My past crises and struggles have become opportunities to create and sustain relationships with peers who stay with us as Guests,” said Kim. This voluntary residential program of The Harris Center opened in September 2016, and it provides person-centered, engaging, empowering and recovery-oriented support to Guests in crisis who, without this level of care, might require a more traditional Anyone interested in accessing services through The P.E.E.R.S. for Hope House should contact the HelpLine at 713-970-7000 for additional information. psychiatric hospitalization. The goal of the program is simple yet innovative: to provide services in a supportive, nonjudgmental setting by professional peer staff who have lived experience in recovery from mental illness. Focused on overall wellness, The P.E.E.R.S. for Hope House aims to address the immediate needs of individuals who find themselves experiencing an increase in symptoms and a need for additional supports but who have not yet reached a need for hospitalization. Peer staff listen to and work with Guests individually and in small groups to create Wellness and Recovery Action Plans and to strengthen necessary coping skills so that they may return to their everyday lives better equipped to deal with their mental illness and continue working toward recovery.