Peer Respite

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A peer-run respite center is a non-clinical, completely voluntary service operated by people with their own stories of mental health recovery, trauma, hospitalization, incarceration, substance use, homelessness or some combination of these.

An alternative to the psych hospital, run by people in mental health recovery – NC Health News

A safe place to rest and rebuild in between moments of stress is essential for autonomic nervous system balance.

The Vagus Nerve & Chronic Illness — Trauma Geek

“When you’re in a psych hospital, they take everything — down to your shoelaces — for your protection. Then they slap a diagnosis on you,” Hart explained. “I got worse before I got better.”

Alternatively, the doors at the respite house are not locked. Guests are able to come and go to the store, their job, school or wherever they want to be.

“I think this would have definitely been a healing place,” Hart said. “You’re still part of the community and not on lockdown. In this space, you can feel the warmth, the encouragement, the safety.”

An alternative to the psych hospital, run by people in mental health recovery – NC Health News

Stimpunks attempts the peer respite model on a very small scale, providing cash and respite along the lines of Afiya House.

Afiya strives to provide a safe space in which each person can find the balance and support needed to turn a difficult time into a learning and growth opportunity.

Afiya Peer Respite

The house is intended to provide an alternative to hospitalization for individuals who are experiencing emotional and/or mental distress, and who feel they would benefit from staying in a community-based environment that offers peer-to-peer support focused on turning ‘crisis’ into a learning and growth opportunity.

The house offers individual bedrooms, community spaces (a living room, a finished basement, a meeting room, a kitchen and a sitting room), a variety of supplies (yoga, art, weighted blankets, etc.), and resource information for up to three people at a time. Stays generally range from one to seven nights.

Everyone who works at Afiya (as with the rest of our community) identifies as having ‘been there’ in some way. Experiences of various team members range from histories of psychiatric hospitalization to trauma to living in residential programs to living without a home to dealing with addiction and so on. No clinical supports are offered, but people who stay at the house have free access to the community where they can keep (or get) connected to clinical supports as desired.

Afiya House (full version) – YouTube

One thing we really like about the Afiya house model is that they provide caves, campfires, and watering holes so that dandelions, tulips, and orchids alike can find respite. Everyone has an individual space as well as community spaces so that they can progressively socialize according to their interaction capacity. Caves, campfires, and watering holes are necessary to designing for neurological pluralism and providing psychological safety. They’re necessary to positive niche construction.

“Some autistic people’s needs will conflict with each other. For example, some autistic people may need the TV playing to calm down, as it can help to focus on specific sounds. But for others this may cause more stress depending on their mental state. Additionally, some autistic people may need to stim to feel relaxed and comfortable, or it may be involuntary when they are stressed, but noises they make (e.g. verbal stims), could really stress another autistic person out. I think the key here is space.”

“It’s Not Rocket Science” – NDTi
But no, take me home
Take me home where I belong
I got no other place to go
No, take me home
Take me home where I belong
I got no other place to go
No, take me home
Take me home where I belong
I can't take it anymore

But I kept runnin' for a soft place to fall
And I kept runnin' for a soft place to fall
And I kept runnin' for a soft place to fall
And I kept runnin' for a soft place to fall

--Runaway by AURORA
What if I say to you it's alright, we're alright
And if you say you need me too, I'll be up all
night, It's alright
The shadows only last 'til sunrise, it's alright,
you'll be alright
'Cause you were born in the sunlight, in the
sunlight and it's very bright
(Hey) Can you feel it, waking with the
morning sun
What feeling, we're living in the morning
sun
Sometimes all you need is darkness to see
the light, we'll see the light
We get high in the sunshine and the moon
light and it's alright
(Hey) Can you feel it waking with the morning
sun
What feeling were living with the morning
sun (Yeah)
Ah ah ah ah ah ah
Flower in the sun (Ohhh no no)
Ah ah ah ah ah ah
Flower in the sun (Ha ah hah)
Ah ah ah ah ah ah (Yea yea yea yeah)
Flower in the sun (Flower in the sunshine)
Ah ah ah ah ah ah (hine on me)
Flower in the sun (Come come come come
come come on let it shine)
Ah ah ah ah ah ah (Yeah, yea yea yea yea)
Flower in the sun
Ah ah ah ah ah ah
Flower in the sun
Ah ah ah ah ah ah (Whoa oh oh oh)
Flower in the sun

--Flower Song by New Sol

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Published by Ryan Boren

#ActuallyAutistic retired technologist turned wannabe-sociologist. Equity literate education, respectfully connected parenting, passion-based learning, indie ed-tech, neurodiversity, social model of disability, design for real life, inclusion, open web, open source. he/they