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National Empowerment Center

Goals for Development of Peer Support in Louisiana


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Having just returned from the NEC sponsored trip to Louisiana, Dan Fisher reports on their efforts to develop peer support.

10/3/05 David Romprey, an advocate from Oregon and I spent 3 intense days in Louisiana, Sept. 28-30th. We were connected with consumer leaders and advocates through the excellent work of Daily Dupre and Denver Nobles of Meaningful Minds and Margaret Mitchell of Office of Consumer Affairs, OMH. We had meetings each of the days in Baton Rouge and Lafayette to assess the needs of the Louisiana consumers. The following goals and steps were worked out:

Goals for development of peer support in Louisiana:

  1. Conversion of the state's existing drop-in-centers into consumer-run recovery centers. These would be primarily staffed by consumers trained in culturally competent, trauma informed peer support.
  2. Establish mobile teams of consumers trained in peer support to provide outreach to consumers in rural areas without recovery centers.
  3. Establish warmlines, run by consumers trained in peer support, to be run out of the recovery centers, to expand the options in peer support.
  4. Public education by consumers trained in trauma informed peer support.

Plan to carry out these goals:

Step one:

Establish a "Louisiana Peer Support Services Advisory Group" which consists of representatives from the emerging statewide consumer group, Meaningful Minds, MHA of Louisiana, OMH office of Consumer Relations, NAMI, State Independent Living Council. The selection of this group is nearly complete and its consolidation will continue over the next 2 weeks.

Step two:

This advisory group and NEC propose to coordinate a 3 1/2 day train the trainer institute for 40 consumers in the week of Oct. 17th, 2005.

  1. We will utilize members of the newly formed National group, Consumers Organizing for Recovery After Katrina (and Rita) or CORK as trainers. From this group NEC will select 5 trainers (in addition to Dan Fisher) experienced in providing training in: trauma informed peer support, WRAP, warmlines, group process, and establishment of consumer-run recovery centers. They would also need to be able to volunteer a week of their time or be paid by their agency for their time. These trainers, will be coordinated of Dan Fisher, and will form 3 teams of 2 members each to provide training in 3 locations in the state for 13-14 consumers in each site.
  2. During the next week the advisory group will be identifying consumers who would be best suited for this training. The group will also select locations for training and arrange logistics such as housing.
  3. Packet of training materials will be assembled by NEC and CORK in weeks preceding training.
  4. Trainers would arrive morning of Oct. 17th, and meet in Baton Rouge to arrange final details of training and get organized to spread out to their locations for the week. That evening 3 teams would drive to their locations and carry out their trainings in the next 3 days.

A donation to NEC will help this CORK team with their transportation and food expenses.