EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – The Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board is contracting with Help Hotline to continue serving people with mental illness through a new peer resource and recovery center in East Liverpool.
Maureen Waybright is passionate about helping others and isn’t shy about sharing her personal story of mental illness.
“I needed that person who was dealing with some of the same issues that I was dealing with to help me get out and moving again, and that’s why I think peer services are so important,” she said.
Peer services bring people who are going through similar situations of mental illness or addiction together.
Waybright is now a recovery assistant with the county’s mental health board. She is also the board liaison for the new Help Hotline center.
She says her peer helped her get to where she is today.
“If she hadn’t been there to support me, encourage me, I could still be isolated and alone at home.”
The county has been providing services like this for 30 years.
“We have a lot of peer services in Columbiana County and the point of all of them is to connect people so that peers are helping peers,” said Executive Director Kathie Chaffee.
Vince Brancaccio from Help Hotline says the new resource center in East Liverpool focuses on recovery.
“Things that assist people with these types of illnesses on how to cope with certain things in society.”
Health experts say that progress is being made to combat mental health stigma because more people are talking about mental illness.
“Be in a place that is stigma-free, that allows them to come and have fellowship. They’re provided with support, resources,” Brancaccio said. “We provide an environment that is comfortable, that is homely-like…We want people to feel like they can just open up here and be safe.”
Waybright says peer service does not replace professional help. Instead, it’s more like a friend helping a friend but for her, it made all the difference.
The center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.