Project Return Peer Support Network (PRPSN) promotes wellness, personal growth and self-determination for people who have experienced mental illness by providing social opportunities, education, and community involvement. We believe in diversity, acceptance, advocacy and empowerment while encouraging people to transform their lives.
As a non-profit peer run organization, PRPSN demonstrates that self-help is a valuable part of recovery from mental illness. Our programs illustrate the benefits of helping people with mental illness build a base of support among their peers - to share goals, conquer fears, and celebrate successes. Our services demonstrate the importance of self-help and peer programs as an integral part of mental health systems.
The Power of Peer Support
As people who have experienced both sides of the mental health system (“been there, done that”) we provide hope, education, and direct support to those living with mental illness. We stand beside others, not as experts, but as true peers who continue to live this journey every day.
Our programs illustrate the benefits of helping people with mental illness build a base of support among their peers - to share goals, conquer fears, and celebrate successes. Our services demonstrate the importance of peer support programs as an integral part of mental health systems.
PRPSN is in its 18th year as a client-run peer support program. We are the successor to Project Return, started by Mental Health America of Los Angeles (MHALA) in 1980 as California’s first staff-facilitated peer support program for people with mental illness. In 1992, we made a transition to a client-operated program in response to the client empowerment movement and clients need for a greater voice in designing and running our own programs. In 2010 we became an independent, peer-run, 501(c)(3).
As we enhanced our program, we developed a number of core values about recovery, self-help, empowerment and equality. We believe that:
Recovery is a real and reachable goal for people with serious mental illness, and our members demonstrate this daily.
Peer to peer support is a valuable part of the recovery process. It helps people build a natural base of support in the community.
Client voices and viewpoints are essential to designing and delivering responsive mental health care.
Quality client-run programs have an integral place in the mental health services system.
Jobs are crucial to recovery, and client employees deserve a "living wage" comparable to their non-disabled counterparts.
People are not defined by their illness; they should be recognized for skills and talents and be encouraged and supported in developing their abilities.
PRPSN has both service and system related goals:
To help individuals with mental illness function in the community successfully and with greater satisfaction.
To support individuals in their personal life goals, such as living independently, having jobs, pursuing education and benefiting from a strong social support network.
To increase client-run opportunities by demonstrating a cost-effective, high quality program that helps reduce hospital recidivism and significantly improves quality of life.
Our members report increased satisfaction with their lives and a decrease sense of isolation. They tell us that with a social support system they feel better about their lives, have fewer crises and less need to go back to a hospital, and are moving forward into meaningful roles in the community. In a survey first done in 1997 and repeated in 2000 and 2002, our employees reported overwhelmingly that they "feel proud to be working" and "feel motivated" as a result of having a job with PRPSN.
El Centrito de Apoyo in Huntington Park is evaluated quarterly by the California Department of Mental Health. Our Community Integration Program collects feedback from residents of locked facilities on the usefulness of the PRPSN groups they attend weekly.
Our Warm Line, has been recognized as an innovative program by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, and our prior and current Executive Director has been honored as well.
We believe that people in recovery can, if given the opportunity, develop and run programs that provide our peers with genuine opportunities to help themselves and others to grow in wellness and reach their full potential.
We believe that mental health clients can, if given the opportunity, develop and run programs that provide other clients with needed opportunities to help themselves and others. We follow what we call the "Three Cs of the Project Return Peer Support Network." We have a commitment to our core (mission), cause (service) and collaboration (work with partners) – as our guiding principles.
PRPSN is our latest program to earn distinction as a "Partners in CARE" (Community Access to Recovery and Empowerment) model, a national Mental Health America initiative to spread successful ways of serving people with mental illness. The Warm Line was honored at Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health's 2001 "Service Innovation Festival."
Project Return Peer Support Network receives funding from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, state and federal grants, and donations from individuals and corporations like you!