The Power of Peer Support: The Development of the Empowerment Center

James J. Rye (2016) The Power of Peer Support: The Development of the Empowerment Center, Journal of Policy Practice, 15:1-2, 25-35, DOI: 10.1080/15588742.2016.1109961

This article discusses the events and influences that led to the author’s contribution to the development of a mental health consumer-run organization, The Empowerment Center in Mount Vernon, NY. The author traces some events that influenced him personally and the evolution of the Empowerment Center from an organization that provided advocacy services (to those with mental health problems who were hospitalized) and community-based support services to people in mental health recovery, to an organization focusing on economic empowerment and economic development for the community of those in recovery. The transition of the Empowerment Center into an organization focused on economic empower- ment underscores the importance of economic independence for people in recovery and the consumer-run organizations that support them. The Empowerment Center endeavors to demonstrate that mental health consumer-survivors can take control of their economic health as well as their physical and mental health.

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