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The PEERblog

July 2013

The month of July brings to mind many things; generally consistent warm weather where outside activities can be planned, holiday fireworks, more hours of sunlight into the evening, flowers and trees at the height of new growth.  In the midst of all that there is a seldom advertised national movement, the National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, in recognition that:


  • Improved access to mental health treatment and services and public awareness of mental illness are of paramount importance; and


  • An appropriate month should be recognized as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month to enhance public awareness of mental illness and mental illness among minorities.


This month, much like the National Mental Health Awareness Month that is recognized in May, highlights that 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children experience mental health challenges. Diverse communities are not exempt. There are many complex reasons why people of color are reluctant to acknowledge mental health challenges. These reasons have to do with cultural norms and historical underpinnings and trauma. Poverty and racism can be contributing factors preventing effective treatment. The stigma of diagnostic labels is often a huge barrier to reaching out for help.  At The P.E.E.R. Center we acknowledge our challenges, share our stories of trauma and triumph, and are intentional in our efforts to embrace and celebrate our differences while we learn to be in community together.  We do not let labels get in the way of our common humanity.  We have found that the more we learn about ourselves, the more authentically we can live in the world with others. So while we talk about recovery, sometimes in the context of our diagnoses, the intent of those conversations is always about helping ourselves, and helping each other, be and stay well. The more we know about ourselves, the more equipped we are to be in control of our recovery process. The P.E.E.R. Center is pleased to join with other entities around our great nation to celebrate the hope of recovery.

July 2013 at The P.E.E.R. Center brings a host of new and continuing activities. Click on the East or North links on the Home or other pages on this website to review the full schedule of activities.  Please make note of additional dates for HIV/STI testing that were finalized after our calendars went to print. Also, remember that our Warmline, for non-crisis phone peer support, is available daily from 10pm to 2am.

Highlighted East Center happenings for July:


12 Step Group meets on Mondays at 2:00pm; 


Clippers Baseball Game on July 10th at 11:00am;


Jazz and Rib Fest Outing on July 26th at 1:00pm; 


Free HIV / STI Testing on the following:


 Friday July 19th, from 9:00am to noon, and Friday July 26th, 9am to noon.


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Highlighted North Center happenings for July:


The Columbus Zoo Outing July 19th at 11:30am;


Free HIV / STI Testing on the following:


Tuesday, July 9th, 3pm to 5pm; Thursday July 18th noon to 2pm, and Tuesday July 30th, 10am to noon;


Employment Support, Wednesdays at 2pm;


Make an Impact, July 13th and 27th at 1pm.


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We hope you will take advantage of these offerings and other offerings during the month of July. Remember, we are a "drop-in" Center, so "drop-in" anytime. No appointment needed. Ever.  


~Please make NOTE of the following~


The PEER Center – East will observe Holiday Hours on July 4th from 9:00am to 7:00pm 


 The PEER Center – North will be closed July 4th 


The PEER Center – East will close at 5:00pm on Sunday, July 7th for our quarterly all staff training.


Finally, our first periodic newsletter, S.T.E.P.S (Standing Together, Embracing Positive Strategies) finally went to print!! But you don't have to wait on the mail person, just click on the link on our Site Map to read all about us. We are very excited to finally have this come to fruition. We hope you enjoy! 


Have a great July!  

Stay well!!
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June 2013

It’s nearly Summer and it seems that we barely experienced Spring here in central Ohio. We should be accustomed to the precarious nature of the seasons by now, but it still catches us off guard with sudden spikes or drops in the outside temperature.  It’s sort of like life, really. Life is unpredictable. The best we can do is to work on being prepared. For example, at The PEER Center, and as we suspect in most businesses, we work at keeping our thermostats at a moderate level so that most people will be comfortable.  This also helps us conserve energy and costs. With that, there are always people too warm or too cold. One way to be prepared is to dress in layers.  In these summer months, have a sweater or jacket handy when going into cooler environments.  That is one way of staying prepared for the adjustment of leaving the hotter environment.  But what about our inner environment; what steps are you taking to shore up your inner resources?  It seems that we pay more attention to our outerwear then our inner-wear, so to speak. What inner resources do you tap into when the winds and rains of life come that result in our distress.  Some of us have learned to reach for our wellness toolbox that we developed as a part of our WRAP (wellness recovery action plan).  Others of us, through trial and error, have identified our own personal wellness tools that we utilize in times of struggle.  It is these things that we learn to reach for, and dig into, to maintain our equilibrium when rocky life events happen.  It’s how we shore up. It’s how we stay well. It’s how we stay out of the therapist’s office or the hospital. For some of us, it’s how we simply choose to live and not die.

Here at The PEER Center, we have learned the value of having friends to surround and support us when life gets hard.  This is the priceless value of peer support.  We also know that learning and sharing in a group setting continually adds tips and tools to our wellness toolbox. This is why we offer so many (approximately 50) within our two sites.  We hope you will take advantage of these offerings for the month of June.  Also remember that our Warmline is available daily from 10pm to 2am.

Click on the links on the Home or Events pages to see the complete schedule of June offerings. New groups and activities for June include an ongoing “Personal Safety” group conversation every Friday at 5pm at out East location.  “Positive Thinking” group is also returning to the East calendar schedule on Saturdays at 1pm.  Our North site is hosting a weekly “Movie Night” each Friday from 5pm to 7pm.

The PEER Center East is planning an outing to the annual “Juneteenth Festival” on Sunday, June 16th at 1pm.  Our North Center is planning an outing to the “Columbus Arts Festival” on Friday, June 7th at 11:30am.  Remember to show up early to assure your spot in the van.

In our ever evolving efforts to introduce physical health and wellness into our Center offerings, we are excited to partner with the FACES Program of Nationwide Children’s Hospital that will offer free HIV testing at both our Centers on the following schedule:

  • The third  Thursday of every month from 12pm to 2pm at the North location

  • The third  Friday of every month from 9am to 12pm at the East location


This activity was finalized after our Calendars went to print, so please make a note of the following dates and times for the month of June:

  •  Thursday, June 20th from 12pm to 2pm at North

  • Friday, June 21st from 9am to 12pm at East.


Finally, we are putting our finishing touches on our first periodic newsletter, S.T.E.P.S (Standing Together, Embracing Positive Strategies), and our group directory.  Both of these resources will be accessible via the Sitemap link on this website. Stay tuned!!

Have a great June!! Stay well!!
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May 2013

Spring has finally “sprung” here in Central Ohio. The trees are blossoming the sun is shining – well – at the time of this writing it’s shinning, and everything, thanks to the days and days of rain, is green. Spring begins the season of sun and warmth. We who live with depression and other mood disorders know that longer days of sunshine can improve our mood.  Warmer days also bring more opportunities to activate an intentional low impact walking plan.  Walking on any day is a mood lifter, factor in the sun and we get the side benefit of Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin.  Check with your doc, of course, but there are many studies out there that point to extensive vitamin D deficiency in many people living in recovery from mental illness addiction and trauma. Recovery is all about taking small steps. Those small steps will lead to bigger steps and on we go.  One step, that is always available, is hanging out with others who share our life experiences and who can not only support, but also celebrate our small steps. Of course we are talking about The PEER Center.  During May there are many, many activities for you to “step” into.

The PEER Center continues our focus on physical wellness with a “YMCA Wellness Visit and Tour” on May 24th, leaving from our North Center. Also at our North Center the “Walking Warriors” continue their trek around the Short North and other walking venues. “Hooptime” at Thompson Recreational Center is also a continuing fun and physical activity.  At the East Center you can join the walking group and focus your efforts on spiritual wellness by attending PEERspirit, or your emotional wellness by attending emotions group or the grief and loss group.

Other special activities to make note of during May is the outings to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus where they will present “Dragons” on May 12th, and a visit to the Asian Festival on May 26th.  Both of these outings leave from the East Center.

These are just a few of the approximately 50 peer led groups and activities that are offered at The PEER Center each week.  Please check the calendars as groups and activities may change in accordance with the interest and needs of our Associates (members).

One last thing … keep an eye this, our new and improved, website.  Interesting things are happening and planned.  Just like our services, we are in a constant state of evolution. Kind of like life; we grow, we change, and we keep moving forward.

Enjoy the sun!!  Keep it moving!!
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Working Behind the Wall: Mental Health of Correctional-Based Staff 2

Link: http://www.psychalive.org/2012/11/working-behind-the-wall-mental-health-of-correctional-based-staff/

When we think of incarceration, we think about people sentenced to prison. Perhaps we think of those in jail awaiting trial or serving a short sentence. When we think of reentry, the act of person's returning home from prison, we think about sentenced people coming home. When we think about prison -
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