Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Comments by SarahLeonard

Showing 2 of 2 comments.

  • Dear Folks,

    Until August, I used to work at Second Story. I left to be Executive Director of MHCAN, Mental Health Client Action Network, our Peer Run mental health community center of Santa Cruz.

    There are many wonderful people who work, reside and volunteer at the Respite House. I think the article Yana wrote is accurate, although it is only a part of a bigger picture. There are many wonderful changes that people have chosen to make in part based on their experiences with the Respite House. I am very glad the Respite House exists.

    Yet, if you read Sandra Bloom’s 2010 article, Organizational Stress as a Barrier to Trauma-Informed Service Delivery. Becker, M. and Levin, B. A Public Health Perspective of Women’s Mental Health, New York: Springer (pp.295-311) I think that neatly encapsulates the problems which may be associated with a peer staffed environment and in my experience happened there. I do think that with collaboration, choice, safety, trust and empowerment that many of those negatives can be avoided. The Respite House is staffed with many individuals who are very strong in those areas.

    MHCAN would love to be the umbrella for The Respite House in the future, from our Board of Directors, our peer staff including myself and MHCAN peers. Currently it is umbrella-ed by SCCCC, Santa Cruz Community Counseling Center, which is not peer run, but a mainstay of Santa Cruz mental health. The Respite House began with a meeting at MHCAN, available on Youtube, . MHCAN absolutely supports The Respite House and Trauma Informed Care values. From the peer originators of the idea for the grant, Delphine Brody and Ginny Gomez, to Yana Jacobs who laboriously wrote and pursued it with the best interests of the peer community in her heart and mind, the ongoing story of the Respite House is one we all believe in.


    Sarah Leonard
    Executive Director, MHCAN
    1051 Cayuga, SC, CA 95062