Side by SIDE

Side by SIDE

[music] [Kelly]: Good morning.
How is everybody today? [Narrator]: Kelly is a volunteer at SIDE,
a nonprofit in Kansas City, Kansas that provides services to members of
the community with mental illness. [Kelly]: Let’s introduce ourselves.
Okay. This is the dual recovery group. On the anti-stigma campaign, I have down… [Narrator]: She helps write
grants, mentors other members, and is the vice president
of the board of directors. [Kelly]: …you write your
positive affirmations on them. [Narrator]: Kelly is not a doctor or a
social worker but she brings a special understanding to her work.
Kelly has a mental illness. [Kelly]: …because I know I
see my nurse practitioner. [Narrator]: She and every other SIDE member
are on their own journey of recovery. [Kelly]: When I was out there, just in my
general life, it was half Kelly, half monster, that’s what I saw in the mirror. I was
angry, I was lonely, I was tired of just being out there. [Narrator]: Kelly had been in out
of treatment since childhood but didn’t find wellness
until she came to SIDE. [Kelly]: When I came to SIDE I was accepted,
for me. It wasn’t what I could give. It wasn’t what I could take. It was who I was because we
respect each other we give each other peer support. And that peer support was
something that I didn’t understand. [Cherie]: She really has transformed herself
from the person I knew, that was everyday getting into a conflict with somebody, getting
into someone’s face, very angry, distressed, had a lot on her plate, didn’t know where to go,
didn’t trust anybody, didn’t see a future. To now saying, “Hey Cherie, I want to work
for SIDE. You know, I want to work for SIDE.” I said, “Great Kelly, you’re the type
of person we need in our community.” [Narrator]: SIDE is part of a growing
movement that is changing the face of mental health services across the country. As
a consumer-operated service, SIDE is a place where peers are helping each other
move past their mental illness. They are building new lives
working side by side. [music builds] [Betty]: It’s run by consumers. [Brenda]: Its shared leadership. [Mindy]: We basically are in the driver’s seat. [Mary]: SIDE is a safe environment with no
stigma. [Kathy]: We challenge that learned
helplessness. We don’t allow that to happen. [Cherie]: It empowers people to see
themselves beyond their mental illness. [Donovan]: We have a real family here.
Different people that are in higher positions, they show just tremendous love. [Jean]: This is just a very good setting for
consumers to come and be involved to find out that they’re really able to do a
lot more with their lives. [Kelly]: I just really like it. I’m independent
now. Two years ago I didn’t think I would ever be able to live by myself again. [Narrator]: Kelly’s experience of recovery from
mental illness through working with her peers at SIDE is being repeated in consumer-operated
services in communities nationwide. SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and
Mental Health Services Administration, recently recognized consumer-operated services as
an evidence-based practice for improving outcomes in persons with mental illness. [Kathryn]: I think it’s important for people
to recognize that consumer operated services have been around for a long period of time and that there are different kinds
of consumer operated services. But most often we use the term when
it is a deliverable service from one consumer to another that would be of support
to them. And we have studied consumer operated services – both self help services and peer to
peer services – and have found that in fact that the evidence shows that the use of consumer
operated services improves the outcomes for recovery for those individuals with mental
illnesses that engage in those services. [Cherie]: We’ve got new people
coming in and offering opportunities for new people to use their skills. [Narrator]: A consumer-operated service
is a peer-run program or service that is administratively controlled and operated by
mental health consumers. They are also called consumer run programs. [Cherie]: SIDE stands for Socialization,
Interdependence, Development and Empowerment. [Narrator]: SIDE was founded by consumers to
help themselves and their peers rebuild their lives and support each other
in their recovery process. [Narrator]: It runs a drop in center
in the downtown area, but it offers much more than just a place to be. [Jean]: Their members really participate in
their program. They don’t come in just to sit and
drink coffee and smoke cigarettes. [Cherie]: Our focus is toward
wellness and support for each other so that people can have lives. [Kathy]: We have many recovery classes.
We have 6 or 7 recovery classes. [Cherie]: Now within this peer support
organization, we provide leadership, education, research, and
training opportunities. [Mindy]: We have many programs like
leadership programs, we have a lot of art programs, we have a lot of men’s groups, woman’s groups,
social groups, anything that has to do with education. We value education highly.
And we also value community service. So we are out in the community a lot. [Narrator]: Consumer-operated services
can include drop-in centers, housing and employment assistance, crisis
support, education, transportation, and many other kinds of services and supports. As important as the kinds
of services offered is that fact that the people offering the
services are peers. [Jan]: We have been through hospitalizations.
We know from first hand experience what it is like to be hospitalized. We know what it
means to have a nervous breakdown, to be in psychosis, to be in wellness. And every
person here is a member of this community and we all experience first hand what
it’s like to have a mental illness. [Lori]: I have just seen and heard so many
stories of people whose lives have literally been changed because of the peer element. [Cherie]: I just think people feel safer to
share with peers because they’re walking that same journey. They understand if I am
having a bad day or if I am having whatever symptoms there is usually a peer that has been
through that that can share coping strategy. [Kelly]: I can walk in that door and know
that if I having a good day cool, if I am having a bad day, even better
because I am with my peers. [Mindy]: We weren’t brought up to say
that it’s okay to say that we’re having a bad day or we’re hearing
voices— that was not okay. The great thing about peer support is here
that’s okay because they really are a family. [Narrator]: SIDE maintains a good relationship
with the near by Wyandot Mental Health Center. Traditional mental health providers
there have begun to recognize the value peer services offer. [Ally]: Having the lived experience,
having the hope that people really can recover that the person delivering that service
at SIDE has had that experience themselves makes all the
difference in the world. [Leslie]: There are a lot of things that
mental health professionals can do to help people in the recovery process… [Ally]: But what’s even more critical is
that the consumer be able to develop a social support outside of the
mental health system. [Michael]: Consumer run organizations
can offer such a variety of activities that we’re not able to offer
at the mental health center. I think it is able to meet the consumer
where their needs are at the time. [Ally]: Many consumers that we serve have
lost their families, their friends, and really have no one else to rely upon. So
SIDE really fills that role for consumers and I think ultimately that social support
network, the community integration piece outside and apart from the mental health
center is critical to a person’s recovery. [Narrator]: Far from seeing
consumer-operated services as competition, mental health providers are now seeing
consumer run organizations as partners who can help bring more
services to their community. [Leslie]: One of the huge
benefits of peer support is that they really free up a mental health center to do what we do best and deliver those
services that are recovery oriented, partnerships with consumers but are clinical.
Whereas they can provide a lot of the peer support, the friendship, the networking,
the developing of a sense of hope and that reclaiming your life is possible.
And if you can marry those two approaches, you really have, I think, a complete
set of services and supports that help people along on the path
of recovery. [Narrator]: The sense of partnership
between SIDE and the Wyandot Center is not an isolated case. A growing body
of research and experiential evidence supports the work of
consumer-operated services. [Narrator]: Managed care companies are
recognizing that the promotion of wellness through consumer-operated services can
prevent expensive hospitalizations and reduce the need for acute care services. [Edward]: There is outcomes research and
there’s a good deal of practice wisdom and there is any number of consumer-operated
services all around the country, which show everyday that this is not only a possibility
but a reality. And that people’s lives are improving not just a
little bit but dramatically. [Narrator]: Jean Campbell is the principal
investigator for the government funded COSP multi-site research initiative. [Jean]: What we found
overall was that these programs are extremely effective when offered as an
adjunct to traditional mental health services in producing well-being, to promoting wellness. [Narrator]: The multi-site study findings
study establish consumer-operated services as an evidence-based practice. [Jean]: In other words, if you deliver
the services the way they’re intended, you will get the outcomes. And in this
case it means you will have people that have greater well-being over time. [Narrator]: This growing body of evidence
is changing the way policy makers look at consumer-operated services. [Arthur]: The reality is that our service
systems have to operate more efficiently and they have to operate more
effectively. We think that using COSP and having COSP be a part of that service
system actually help our service system operate more effectively and efficiently. [Linda]: It extends an over- taxed mental
health system. A mental health system that is under-funded where we have a capacity
problem. You’re creating the potential for more services for people who
need services and supports. [Melody]: They’re cost effective. They’re
creative. They’re life affirming. They fill in gaps. We know that the mental
health system struggles with people who get lost in the gaps. So as a policy
maker who is responsible to the citizens where I live, it is important that I
do what I can to fill in those gaps. And I believe that consumer
run organizations do that. [Kathryn]: I mean, this is really
recognizing the people that you serve as having a dynamic and central role in their own
care. And that’s a shift for people. I think that there is some reluctance. I think
that there is some hesitation. I think there is frankly, an educational process, but I have
found that over time, even those individuals who had resistance, once they see a
consumer-operated service at work, once they talk with individuals who have
benefited from consumer-operated services they really do, I think, embrace
it and become advocates for it. [Narrator]: Self help and peers helping
peers are fundamental elements of the recovery movement in mental health.
They represent a fundamental change in the way we think about
people with mental illness. [Arthur]: The whole recovery movement,
particularly the voice of the consumer is in a lot of ways a civil rights
movement. And people are not going to go back to a system that is driven without their
voice. And so, for me this is not only about how to help a service system operate more
efficiently, in a lot of ways it is about a social movement that says that people
who have mental illness have the right, the ability, it should be a integral part
in how that service system operates. [Narrator]: As more professionals interact
with consumer-operated services, the support for partnerships grows. [Edward]: I think one of the most
exciting things is when professionals begin to see that consumer survivors
actually can do things on their own. And when they get to the point of managing
budgets and raising money, it’s very exciting. [Jeanie]: People are very surprised
about how effective it is but when they see people who were once recipients of
services who are now living successful lives in the community, working, and
giving back and helping others— it’s probably the most profound thing
that really affects people the most. [Narrator]: As mental health
systems begin to see the benefits of independent consumer-operated services,
the question becomes, how to support them? [Jean]: I think the biggest
need for peer run programs is having stabilized funding. I think that that is
really key in order for these programs to exist now and to plan
to exist in the future. [Narrator]: Policymakers and mental health
administrators around the country are recognizing that supporting and partnering
with consumer-operated services can improve outcomes for the people they serve. [Arthur]: There has to be a real strong
message from the top of the organization, from the top of the system that this is
important. And that it is not just a nice thing to do but an important strategy
for making the system effective. [Kathryn]: We’re at that tipping point where
we have enough evidence around their success and we just want to reach over that tipping
point and get it into every system. [Narrator]: People like Kelly and
organizations like SIDE are living proof that consumer-operated services can
make a difference. You, too, can make a difference.
Order a free resource kit on consumer-operated services at The KIT provides practical
information and materials for policy-makers, practitioners,
advocates, and consumers. [Kelly]: We are not our mental illness we are
people. And that has always stuck in my head. Because I am not a mental
illness. I am a human being. [Ally]: It’s just an incredible and unique
partnership that we have with SIDE and I can’t imagine not working
with a CRO, I just can’t. [Cherie]: There is a bright future out
there. And that the mental illness doesn’t have to be that stopper and that
catch-all. There’s life beyond mental illness.

4 thoughts on “Side by SIDE

  1. As a Certified Peer Specialist in North Carolina, I see the evidence of recovery through peer support. I am always surprised when mental health professional doubt the power of peer support, given that some of the most effective programs (with the best long-term outcomes) have been based on peer support. AA/NA are highly effective peer supported programs that have made a difference in the lives of people that traditional treatments have not helped. Peer Power!

  2. SIDE is one of the best peer support centers in the nation. It's right by my house. Please like our Facebook page at S.I.D.E. Peer Support Center. Funny thing, this video was made quite a long time ago.

  3. This is wonderful. Sometimes people are confused about what is a consumer operated program. Its the total program being goverened and run by person with lived experience.

  4. Thank you, SAMHSA, for what you've brought to the forefront for those of us who've struggled in the traditional medical model. Your thoughtful foresight and continued advocacy for those less able to articulate the dire needs they experience is transforming the way in which we live, love, and thrive within our communities. COSPs are just one of the many ways in which you've provided support to us and for many of us, our gratefulness cannot be expressed in mere words.

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