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The Pier Recovery Community Center provides free help for mental health or substance abuse disorders

By Maridith Yahl
NKyTribune health reporter

Mental Health America at The Pier Recovery Community Center in Newport is a free resource for anyone having challenges with mental illness or substance use disorders. At The Pier, you become part of a team that helps navigate the challenges to recovery.

Recently, The Pier became Association of Recovery Community Organizations (ARCO) Certified,. The Pier is the only ARCO organization in the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky region.

The staff is sincere in lifting-up those with mental health issues and those in recovery. Some staff is also in long-term recovery themselves, giving them special insight to the challenges.

“There is a lot of people in recovery that go unnoticed in our community,” says Martin Warne, Outreach Coordinator. “We want to make sure we set a platform for people in recovery to be engaged.”

With the pandemic, many people are having challenges, including losing jobs or insurance. Being able to connect those in need to community partners that provide those resources is an important part of the service.

The Community Referral Program works with community partners to get access to a multitude of needs including but not limited to food, food stamps, clothing, insurance, therapy, set-up with Medicaid, behavioral health services, and housing. Those having trouble accessing these and other needs can reach out to The Pier.

“We have a wealth of information that we’re willing to share openly with our community,” says Warne.

The Community Referral Programs also helps make connections to case management, individualized peer support, or support groups.

“Our Individualized Peer Support Case Management Services is really the heartbeat, the backbone of what we do we,” says Tom Spicer, Team Lead. Getting participants engaged to reach their full potential by focusing on their strengths, helps build them up so they can be the best version of themselves. “Having one person in recovery talking to another person in recovery is really the heartbeat of peer support.”

The staff has the experience of living through mental health or substance use disorder.

“We just get a chance to sit and listen to somebody and get to be a set of ears. Then we can offer experience and that is a beautiful thing,” Spicer says.

Participants, called so because they must be willing to participate in their recovery, are in charge of their path.

The Pier uses a self-sufficiency matrix, which is a self-assessment survey. It gives The Pier and the participant a vision of where they are in their life and a place to start creating goals. They are re-assessed after 30 and 90 days to track progress.

The three areas of peer support include reentry, employment, and substance abuse, which is a wrap-around program.

An evidence-based practice, Peer Support works well in combination with treatment, and participants utilizing case management or therapy.

“I’m helping them navigate different challenges a person may face in early recovery,” says Warne.

Virtual Peer Support Groups and Classes are held on Facebook for a variety of issues. Two of the most popular classes are parenting and anger management. Support groups for Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Connects and other such groups have online meetings.

A Virtual Coffee Hour is held on the first Friday of every month at 10 a.m. on Facebook. A platform for people in recovery to engage with others in recovery, it is a casual event. Participants drink coffee, enjoy conversation, and talk about what is going on in their world.

Pro-bono counseling is available for those underinsured/over-insured. The counseling program is for those in need of short-term mental health counseling, such as grief, loss, or trying to work through life challenges.

Proud of diversity and inclusion, The Pier offers specialized recovery for LGBTQ and those with different types of disabilities.

“Recovery for all, because we believe that everyone has a hope and a chance to find recovery,” Warne says. “It’s just not the appearance of the recovery community as a whole, it’s our social responsibility to come together as a community, share resources, get folks help, and to unite as one,” Warne says.

The Pier’s Kentucky Certified Peer Support Specialists (Recovery Coaches) strive to educate, provides outreach, advocate, and give hope to those in recovery.

Maridith Yahl is the NKyTribune’s health reporter

Thanks to Report for America, with support from the Ground Truth Project, St. ELizabeth Healthcare, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Douglas G. Martin Foundation. You, too, can support this reporting and other NKyTribune reporting with a tax-deductible donation today. Help us continue to provide accurate, up-to-date local news and information you can depend on.

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