Peer-support funding helps people struggling with mental health and addiction issues survive


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Governor Eric Holcomb announced a partnership between the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction and Mental Health America of Indiana to hire more peer support recovery professionals, and expand the framework of connecting people to lifesaving resources through the the Indiana Recovery Network.

“Being able to do a warm hand off to South Bend because that is where that person is going to be forever and for me to know the people in South Bend,” Gina Fears explained. “Not just calling a general phone number and saying, ‘Hey, I have a client that really needs some support. I think it just works so well for the individual that is working towards lengthening their time of recovery.”

Fears is the assistant director of recovery community services at PACE Inc. in Indy which helps people who are re-entering their neighborhoods from prison or jail. Pace is one of 16 recovery-based organizations across the state who are receiving portions of $1 million dollars in grant funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

These 16 organizations and the areas of the state they serve include:
 1Voice (Southeast)
 Artistic Recovery (Northwest)
 Indiana Addictions Issues Coalition (Central)
 Integrated Wellness (Northwest)
 IU Virtual Recovery Hub (Central)
 Jay County Drug Prevention Coalition (Northeast)
 Minority Recovery Collective Inc. (Central)
 Oaklawn (Northeast)
 PACE Inc. (Central)
 Peace Zone Inc. (Southwest)
 Phoenix Recovery Solutions (Northwest)
 Pick Yourself Up (Northwest)
 Recovery Cafe Indy (Central)
 Scott County T.H.R.I.V.E (Southeast)
 Turning Point Systems of Care (Northeast)
 Wabash Valley Recovery Center (Southwest)

The grant money will afford at least 40 peer recovery specialists across the state. Connections formed between these specialists who understand recovery on a personal level and people at different stages of recovery can be lifesaving.

“I am a person who has substance use disorder and I would feel so isolated and alone if those peer-to-peers weren’t there,” Jeannie Reed said.

Reed is a diversion specialist at PACE. She knows relationships with a person who has walked through addiction and recovery can help others sustain their own recovery.

“It’s just been a vital part of my pathway, being able to bounce some things off of people, asking for advice, yelling and screaming, ‘I don’t know if I can do this anymore,'” Reed explained.

The Indiana Recovery Network is made up of more than 60 recovery-based organizations. They are organized by regional recovery hubs across the state which can help people no matter where they are in their pathway to recovery.

“I don’t know who’s going to walk through my door, especially with us taking referrals from IDOC or department of corrections,” Fears explained. “They may come through my door at release but that may not be their landing space.”

Fears said people can dial 211 and also get connected to PACE or other organizations helping people with substance abuse disorders or mental health challenges.

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