Guest: Reah Brown
Topic: Lunchtime for the Ladies
Published: April 8, 2021
Host: Welcome to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL). Our guest today is Reah Brown, Peer Support Specialist and Certified Benefits Advisor with Mental Health PEER Connection (MHPC), and your host is yours truly Ernie Churchwell. Welcome to the program Reah.
Guest: Thank you for having me.
Host: It's our pleasure. Of course, you're our special guest, because you've got a new program that's kicking off, but it occurs to me that some people listening might not be familiar with MHPC. Could you sketch out briefly, what sort of things your organization does and whom you serve?
Guest: Sure, we provide help with housing, peer support or employment to individuals or consumers who have mental health diagnosis.
Host: Alright, so that's fairly broad…
Guest: It starts at age 18 and up.
Host: And isn't it unique among the organizations serving people with mental health concerns in that the staff is all current or former recipients of mental health services?
Guest: Yes, we’re all peers, it’s a peer run organization.
Host: Which gives an entirely separate viewpoint from traditional agencies, some of which tend to have the “I’m a professional, I know how you should live your life” kind of attitude.
Host: So, the current situation with the restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a lot of the activities being curtailed that would normally occur which, in part, has led to the creation of your new program. There are a number of different support groups MHPC has that have become virtual, that is, done online over computers, smartphones, tablets and whatnot. And you have just kicked off a new one, largely because of the isolation that some individuals are feeling, Could you tell us about Lunchtime for the Ladies?
Guest: Sure, I noticed when everything shut down most, the majority of my consumers were actually isolated, had no one to talk to and had no family. So I thought about this group where the women could meet each other, talk about whatever and perhaps form another friendship in the process so they have someone else to talk to besides me, because you know they all had those things in common.
Host: And if people have taken part in structured groups from traditional agencies, they'll probably find your group a little more freewheeling, and open to suggestions by the participants than those would you say?
Host: So, the direction that the group tends to go will depend on the will of participants, and could even change from week to week.
Guest: Absolutely, whatever it is that they want to talk about, that they want to do, it's for them.
Host: And although we'll mention it again at the closing, could you tell us when this occurs each week?
Guest: Okay. The group meets every Friday from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. It's going to be on Zoom. So hopefully I can get some people interested to come to the group.
Host: And in order for them to participate, they would…
Guest: They would have to contact me, to get the information, so that they could come to the Zoom meeting.
Host: So you would send them information on either how to connect by computer or phone or whatever. But you need to know they're interested so you can let them have it.
Host: Great. Would you believe that we're actually running close to the end of the show? If you could remind people when it occurs, and could you tell them how they can contact you to sign up?
Guest: Okay, the group Lunchtime for the Ladies meets every Friday from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. on the Zoom channel, if they want to contact, or are interested in the group they can call at 836-0822, extension 511 and get me, and I can give them the information they need.
Host: Perfect, thanks so much for being with us Reah.
Guest: You're welcome.
Host: You've been listening to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of WNYIL. Our guest today has been Reah Brown, Peer Support Specialist and Certified Benefits Advisor with MHPC, and your host was yours truly, currently, Ernie Churchwell.