“Peer Support is THE most effective mental health intervention”
- National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, “What Helps, What Hinders,” a report on how effective Peer Support is for Mental Health Recovery
Wellness Wordworks was founded by Corinna West in 2008. Corinna is an entrepreneur, a spoken word poet, and a catalyst for change. To see her personal website about recovery from 12 psychiatric diagnosing, bicycling across country, or motivational speaking opportunities, go to http://CorinnaWest.com.
Wellness Wordworks began full time operations at 4:00 pm on April 26, 2010. Wellness Wordworks has expanded greatly in the last two years, with 45 current volunteers, 2 full time staff member and 11 part time staff members. We operate programs that showing how emotional distress is temporary and transformative. We provide tools like art, peer support, and non-medication wellness strategies to move people towards complete recovery.
Our most ambitious program is a social entrepreneurship approach tentatively called Connect Power or Instant Peer Support. We are trying to use Google Gigabit technology, the 100 times faster internet that is only available in Kansas City. We will be providing a 24 hour video, text, phone, or email support line for people to find resources for handling emotional distress. All of our staff will be people who are themselves in recovery for mental health diagnoses.
We’ll link with crisis care opportunities and community mentors to bring people into social activities. Although peer support is the most effective mental health intervention, only 1% people receiving mental health care have access to it. Also, many peer supporters don’t have jobs due to large budget cuts and fear of innovation in the public mental health sector. Our Connect Power program can fix both these problems with a self-funding approach to mental health care.
This will relieve much of the burden on our over-stressed local mental health centers. We plan for recovery outcomes that are much higher than current mental health delivery models. We will provide instant care focused on problems and lifestyles instead of diagnoses and medications. Because our labor and facility expenses are much lower than traditional models, our program can be delivered at much lower cost. This allows the people who are having mental health challenges to be our direct customers instead of just charity recipients. This creates a self-supporting and nationally scalable model that is free from current mental health budget cuts or fundraising limitations.
Our name, Wellness Wordworks, symbolizes the healing coming through the words of our peers and our own words as we form and share recovery stories and spoken word poetry. We also mean that building wellness is hard work, and not a passive process that someone can do for anyone else. Our business’ current income sources include state and federal grants, social messaging and content creation contracts, product sales, and speaking honoraria.
Quotes from potential Instant Peer Support customers:
“Great ideas, and so glad somebody is ‘taking the ball & running with it’. I hope I can be a part of this.” -M. Herbert, Potential Instant Peer Support Customer
“Out in places like western Kansas, [video based peer support] could be a viable alternative (provided the internet service will support that out there). I know, for me, the idea of going somewhere and being with people isn’t appealing when I’m in distress. And respite centers, while they do cost money, are a darn sight cheaper than hospitalization.” -Lael Ewy, Peer Support Trainer
“I had to go through hell to get to the other side!! In hell, I experienced many things that I could bring with me in my wellness tool box. With my tool box, I can stay well and help others find their wellness along their road to recovery. I have met many people on my road to recovery and cherish their friendshps dearly.” -Potential Instant Peer Support customer
“I do like the idea of barter and volunterring. The act of volunteering could actually help with the problems. Sounds like a way to help people who do not have the resources to get treatment. From an observer’s perspective, rehabilitation and mental health facilities are not very effective and not accessible to many who need the services. Might as well try something out of the box.” -Instant Peer Support project planning survey respondent