New Center in Virginia Offers Addiction, Mental Health Help From Peers

At the new Peer Resource Center in Fairfax County, Virginia, people with addiction or mental health issues can seek help from others who’ve faced the same challenges.

Everyone at the center is called a “guest” rather than a patient or client.

“They instantly relate to us,” Director CW Tillman said. “We can share the things we've done to help us in our own lives and we do it from a standpoint of this is what's helped me, it might help you, but we never use ‘you should do this.’”

A guest named Sue spoke at the center’s official grand opening Wednesday. Once a star student and athlete, her alcohol and drug addiction led to jail, but now she stops by the center at least three days a week. It’s her key for continued progress.

Mary Gardiner, another guest, said she turned to the center after a month-long stay at a hospital where she felt she didn’t get much help.

The center, which actually got started in October inside the Community Services Board building, offers support groups, art therapy, help finding a job and help applying for benefits.

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