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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

Last Updated: 8/28/2013

SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)


Peer Respite Services: Transforming Crisis to Wellness

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  • Peggy Swarbrick, Ph.D., OTR, CPRP, Director, Institute for Wellness and Recovery Initiatives at Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey
  • Sherry Jenkins Tucker, M.A., ITE, CPS, Executive Director, Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network
  • Steve Miccio, Executive Director, Projects to Empower and Organize the Psychiatrically Labeled, Inc. (PEOPLe, Inc.)

Teleconference Overview

There is a rich history spanning several decades for peer-to-peer support—beginning with support groups and evolving into a range of peer support services and peer-run organizations. During this webinar, you will learn about the research that shows that peer respite services can have positive impacts for people in recovery during times of emotional crisis.1

In addition, you will hear about innovative, peer-operated alternatives to psychiatric hospitalization including the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network Peer Support and Wellness Center and PEOPLe, Inc.’s Rose House. Our speakers will share how peer respite services provide low-cost alternatives to emergency rooms for people in crisis. Offering a comfortable atmosphere, peer respite services welcome individuals to stay up to a week, in many cases, with peers who are trained to provide one-on-one support for handling a crisis. Peer specialists understand the impact of trauma and are trained to connect with people by building mutually respectful and trusting relationships.  Several peer-run organizations also offer a “warm line” for 24-hour peer support via phone.

The speakers of the webinar will describe how these services have evolved, as well as share some of the core components of their success including operational functions, such as securing funds and training the workforce.  

Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions.  This webinar is free and open to everyone.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this webinar, participants will attain the following objectives:

  • Know the evolution of peer respite services, components of successful programs, and research showing outcomes that support this progressive model of recovery support
  • Gain practical strategies for core operational functions, such as funding peer respite services and training the workforce including Certified Peer Specialists
  • Understand how peer respite centers can help to shift community systems and supports—families/friends, housing, employment, justice, mental health—to be more trauma informed, socially inclusive, and recovery driven

Target Audiences

  • Consumers/survivors and peers who have experienced trauma, institutionalization, or mental or substance use disorders
  • Peer-run organizations
  • Families
  • Behavioral health providers
  • Staff of State and county mental health or behavioral health departments
  • Primary care providers
  • Faith-based and community-based organizations that support individuals and families in recovery
  • Community members interested in supporting people during times of crisis and preventing hospitalization, homelessness, unemployment, suicide, etc.

Speaker Biographies:

Peggy Swarbrick, Ph.D., OTR, CPRP, directs the Institute for Wellness and Recovery Initiatives at Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey. Peggy is also a part-time assistant faculty member of the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey’s School of Health Related Professions.

Peggy is a consultant to the 10x10 Wellness Campaign and is the author of numerous publications, research articles, and other resources about wellness. Peggy has been actively involved in promoting the wellness model for mental health and substance use recovery for decades and across the country.

Sherry Jenkins Tucker, M.A., ITE, CPS, is the Executive Director for the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network, Inc. In addition to her extensive experience with the consumer/survivor movement, Sherry—who is a self-identified consumer of mental health services—has a strong background with Wellness Recovery Action Plan facilitation, Leadership Academy training, peer workforce development, advocacy, and mind/body/spirit wellness. She is a certified peer specialist and holds the credential of “I’m the Evidence,” or ITE (I’m the evidence that recovery works). She oversees the Georgia-based Peer Support Whole Health program.

Sherry received the 2010 Isaiah Uliss Advocate Award from the United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association and the 2009 Clifford W. Beers Award from Mental Health America.

Steve Miccio is the founder and Executive Director of Projects to Empower and Organize the Psychiatrically Labeled, Inc. (PEOPLe, Inc.), a consumer advocacy agency located in Dutchess, Ulster, and Orange Counties in New York. Under Steve's leadership, PEOPLe has developed a hospital diversion house in two counties and a peer advocacy program in a hospital emergency room. He is co-author of a national study that examines the experiences of people using hospital emergency rooms while in an emotional crisis and has presented solutions on how services can be improved.

Steve is a board member of New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services.


  1. Agar-Jacomb & Read, 2009; Burns-Lynch & Salzer, 2001; Greenfield, Stoneking, Humphreys, Sundby, & Bond, 2008; Kiesler, 1982; Landers & Zhou, 2009; Lloyd-Evans, Slade, Jagielska, & Johnson, 2009; Mendel & Rapport, 1969; Mosher, 1999; Stein & Test, 1980; Toprac et al., 1996; Whittle, 1992.

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This Web site was developed under contract with the Office of Consumer Affairs in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The views, opinions, and content provided on this Web site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS. The resources listed in this Web site are not all-inclusive and inclusion on this Web site does not constitute an endorsement by SAMHSA or HHS.