Peer-led Wilmington Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) Program Open in New Hanover County

Brittany Pape, BSW, CADC, QP, the program manager for Monarch’s new peer-led psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR) program in Wilmington, knows firsthand of recovery partnered with the healing power of a peer who has gone through similar life experiences.

Psychosocial rehabilitation programs facilitate opportunities for individuals with chronic mental illness to reach their optimal level of independent functioning in society and improve their quality of life. The Wilmington peer-led PSR model is led by staff who themselves continue to heal from mental health diagnoses.

Most recently working as a substance use disorder counselor, Brittany is excited about the opportunity and believes her mental health experiences bring a unique perspective. “What better way to understand than through someone else’s direct experience. Peers can offer a higher level of empathy and understanding,” she reasons.

The PSR is a place of no judgement in hopes to reduce the stigma often associated with reaching out for help to navigate a mental illness, Brittany shares: “We will create an environment of trust, caring and kindness by helping to bring education about mental health diagnoses and the ability to help individuals work toward their goals.”

In her recovery, Brittany believes connecting with others sharing similar experiences to let her know she wasn’t alone. “Pursuing recovery allows me to better understand the disease of addiction and mental health, and this community as a whole,” she says.

Vice President of Operations, Enhanced Services, Shannon Atkinson, MSW, LCSW, says she looks forward to seeing the impact of a peer-led program within the Wilmington community. “We believe that individuals with even the most severe psychiatric illnesses are able to live in the community independently and be respected as neighbors, coworkers and friends,” she explains. “Recovery and self-reliance are possible, and our program can support those goals.”

The peer-led program is also unique because it includes an occupational therapist, a licensed health care professional who offers activities strengthening independent living skills and overall well-being. PSR participants benefit from groups such as conflict resolution, understanding current events, finances and navigating mental illness. Vocational services are available providing basic computer knowledge, resume building and other job skills.

A canteen area within the site, operated by PSR participants, is dedicated to socializing and hosting events.

The peer-led experience for staff helps in their personal recovery, Brittany attests. “I knew from early on that I wanted to give back . . . By providing a service or having someone help to show you the way, there is nothing like it,” she describes. “I wanted to give back in my education, in my recovery, in my field of work. If no one would have helped me, I am not sure where I would be today.”

To learn more about the Wilmington PSR program, visit here or call (910) 833-7500 with any questions about the program that accommodates 30 individuals. Monarch also operates five other PSR programs in Forsyth, Richmond, Harnett, Lee and Wake counties.

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A community open house was held to launch services which included a ribbon-cutting with, left to right: Monarch Occupational Therapist Evelina Trost; Monarch Behavioral Specialist Christy Wagner; Trillium Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Cindy Ehlers; Monarch Program Manager Brittany Pape; Monarch Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Behavioral Health, Melissa Hall; and Dennis Williams, Trillium Southern Regional Director.

Posted on: Wednesday May 4, 2022