Second Story, Peer Respite

Second Story is a Peer Respite located in Santa Cruz, CA. This short-stay sleeps six house was established in 2010 through a federal grant to evaluate peer support services. Mad in America sat down with members of the Second Story community to discuss the origins of the house, starting with Loren Mosher’s Soteria project and the integration of peer support. Staffed entirely by individuals with lived experience of mental health issues, trauma, or extreme states, the house “provides an opportunity to experience what change feels like, and to learn new responses through relationships with each other” for Santa Cruz County mental health clients.  This is first in a series that will chronicle the development of alternative approaches such as peer respites and Open Dialogue in America.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.


  1. I had the opportunity to visit and tour Second Story a couple of weeks ago in Santa Cruz, not long after the MIA interview.

    The atmosphere is pleasant and relaxed. The staff are friendly. All in all this is a very homey and supportive place. I liked it that people staying there are free to come and go and eat as they wish. This is so unlike the standard hospital “treatment” model.

    Kudos to all involved in obtaining the grant and designing and running the house.

    Beautiful work. We need more of this.

    Alice Keys MD

    Report comment