As "respite" is defined as a break from hardship, the Peer Respite is just that. Described by Peer Support Space executive director Yasmin Flasterstein as a "welcoming space" in the community for individuals living with mental health challenges, the Peer Respite is designed to build a support system for visitors free of charge.
Even people who are simply just experiencing stress from life are encouraged to stop by.
"We want people to know that hope is real and that recovery is possible." said Flasterstein.
The Peer Respite is set to offer recreational arts activities, comfort items, a kitchen, and other opportunities designed for visitors to explore hobbies, outside of their home and in a safe and secure environment.
If visitors find themselves in need of counseling, peer specialists will be present at the Peer Respite to offer one-on-one therapy for free.
Officially known as Certified Recovery Peer Specialists, these peer specialists are non-clinical healthcare providers that administer services which supplement the services of mental health professionals. Flasterstein emphasized that the peer specialists will be there to support and guide, but not to "fix."
In a country with increasing suicide rates, a Peer Respite in the Orlando community could be a beacon of light for many locally. In a study
done by researchers with the Human Services Research Institute at Cambridge, it was shown that respite guests were 70 percent less likely to use inpatient and emergency services.
Flasterstein says it's her hope to provide visitors with an inviting place where they can take a pause from hardships, well ahead of reaching a point of crisis when they need hospitalization.
"Our goal is to fill gaps in our mental health system by providing services that prevent crisis and that sustain wellness following crisis," Flasterstein wrote to Orlando Weekl
y via email. "Our services allow individuals an opportunity to build a sense of chosen family, where it is okay to not be okay, and where they can explore who they are outside of their struggles."
Co-founded by Flasterstein and Dani Hill, Peer Support Space was created to destigmatize mental health struggles and promote wellness through peer recovery. Flasterstein hopes to also be able to provide overnight services in the near future for those in need of the Respite's services at night.
Find out more about then on their website
, and about the Saturday event on their Facebook page
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Nonprofit mental health advocacy group Peer Support Space will be launching the first-ever Peer Respite in Central Florida on Saturday, Feb. 1, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event will also mark the organization's first anniversary.