December 18, 2018
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683

Monarch House Peer-Run Respite Now Welcoming Guests

Unique mental health and substance use recovery program open in Menomonie

The Monarch House peer-run respite for people experiencing difficulty coping with mental health and substance use challenges is now open in Menomonie. This is one of three peer-run respites funded by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) that in many cases serve as an alternative to emergency room visits and hospitalizations. The other peer-run respites include Iris Place in Appleton, which opened in 2015, and Solstice House in Madison, which opened in 2016.

Monarch House takes over the space previously home to the Grassroots Wellness peer-run respite. The DHS partnership with the operators of Grassroots Wellness ended earlier this year. Monarch House is the result of an expanded DHS partnership with SOAR Case Management Services, the operators of Solstice House. Monarch House is managed by the Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance through an arrangement with SOAR Case Management Services.

Peer-run respites are managed and staffed by people who use their unique set of mental health and substance use recovery experiences in combination with skills training to provide hope, health, and healing to adults facing similar challenges.

Peer-run respites are not drop-in centers. Guests contact the peer-run respite and talk with staff to determine whether a no cost, short-term stay is a good fit for their needs. Stays are voluntary. Guests are free to come and go for school, work, family, and other responsibilities.

The focus is on wellness, not illness. The home-like environment at a peer-run respite offers opportunities for one-on-one and group connections to explore mental health and substance use crises as an opportunity for growth and change. There isn’t a doctor on staff, and there’s no medication management or therapy. However, peer-run respite staff offer support in accessing community resources.

Wisconsin is one of 14 states with peer-run respites. DHS annually allocates $441,666 to each of the three peer-run respites, which were established as part of Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to improve the quality of care and outcomes for people with mental health and substance use concerns. To date, more than 1,000 people have benefited from a stay at one of the peer-run respites.