Peer-Run Respites: FAQs

A peer-run respite is a place for people with mental health and substance use concerns who may be experiencing increased stress or symptoms and need to take a break in a peer-supported environment. Guests do not need a mental health or substance use diagnosis in order to stay at a peer-run respite.

Support from people who have been there

Peer-run respites are managed by people who have lived through emotional, psychological, and life challenges.  The peer support and other supportive services offered at a peer-run respite are designed to aid in the individual's recovery and avert crises and avoid hospitalizations. 

The following is a list of frequently asked questions regarding Wisconsin's peer-run respites.

Accessing a peer-run respite

Who is eligible to stay?

Adults (age 18 or older) who need or want peer support to navigate or avoid a crisis related to mental health and substance use concerns may stay at a peer-run respite. A specific diagnosis is not necessary. Guests must be residents of Wisconsin.

Who may benefit from a stay?

  • People who need support during a period of increased stress or symptoms related to mental health and substance use concerns, but not traditional medical care or treatment.
  • People who are willing and able to choose this service freely.
  • People who can safely and cooperatively live in a communal living environment.

How much does a stay cost?

There is no cost to stay at a peer-run respite.

What is the process to set up a stay?

Call the peer-run respite location and talk with staff about the services and supports available and whether these services and supports are the right ones at the right time.

Stays are voluntary. Services are provided at no cost to the guest.

Service providers, family members, and friends are welcome to contact one of the peer-run respites, but staff always will speak with the prospective guest prior to a stay. Because peer support is based on choice, individuals must self-refer to a peer-run respites. People who need someone to make a referral for them may need more help than a peer-run respite can offer. 

Peer-run respites are not drop-in centers. Please call and talk to staff before visiting one of the peer-run respites.

What if staff and the guest determine a stay is not a good fit?

If a stay at a peer-run respite is not in the best interest of a prospective guest, staff will provide information on other community resources available to the individual. For example, individuals in severe, immediate crisis may be referred to the county crisis line. The peer-run respites do not provide clinical services and supports. Individuals who are intoxicated, disrespectful, or verbally abusive are not good fits for the peer-run respite environment. 

Do the peer-run respites offer drop-in services?

No. Prospective guests must contact the peer-run respite prior to their intended stay to engage in a conversation with staff to determine if the environment suits their needs. 

Are the respites accessible to people with disabilities?

All Wisconsin peer-run respites are accessible to people with disabilities.

Is transportation offered?

Guests are responsible for securing transportation to and from the peer-run respite. If guests need assistance accessing transportation, they should contact the peer-run respite. However, in general, the peer-run respites do not provide transportation services for guests.

Staying at a peer-run respite

What will a guest experience?

The peer-run respites offer guests 24/7 opportunities for one-on-one peer support as well as opportunities to connect in group settings. Peer support provides an opportunity to learn from one another to help everyone reach their goals and dreams. In other words, positive outcomes are more likely when people in emotional distress talk with someone who has been there rather than being isolated in the community with little to no support system. Services include wellness, educational, and social activities. All services are voluntary. Guests can come and go as they wish. This includes going to school, work, or appointments. Guests also may access recovery resources in the community. Guests are encouraged to complete wellness plans to help guide their journey. Guests may have visitors during their stay.

How many people can stay at one time?

The maximum number of guests at each peer run respite is limited by the number of bedrooms. Iris Place in Appleton has five bedrooms. Monarch House in Menomonie has four bedrooms. The R&R House (opening soon) in Pewaukee has three bedrooms. Solstice House in Madison has four bedrooms. Each guest has their own bedroom and access to shared community spaces. Each bedroom also has a lock box for medications and valuables.

Are the bedrooms private?

Yes. Bedrooms are not shared. Guests each have their own room.

How long may a guest stay at a peer-run respite?

Stays typically range from one to five days.

Are there restrictions on when guests can come and go?

No. Guests may come and go as they wish. Guests who may be gone for an extended period (24 hours or more) are encouraged to have a conversation with staff to discuss whether a stay at the peer-run respite is still needed.

Are clinical supports and services or other medical care offered?

No. There are no doctors or nurses on staff. Therefore, clinical supports and services like medication management and psychiatric services are not offered. However, staff will support individuals who may be interested in accessing these supports and services in the community. All guests have access to a lock box in their room for prescription medications.

Are there required activities?

No. There are no participation requirements. Everything is optional.

Are pets allowed?

Service animals are allowed. Due to concerns with allergies and the possible conflicting needs of others staying at the peer-run respite, animals who are not trained to do work or perform a specific task for a person in the way that service animals are trained are not allowed. The peer-run respites may be able to accommodate visits from pets.

Is transportation provided for guests?

There is no guarantee that staff will be available to provide transportation for guests to school, work, or other community activities. However, staff will work with guests to explore transportation options.

Staffing at the peer-run respites

How are the respites staffed?

Each peer-run respite is responsible for developing a staffing plan to ensure for the health, safety, and wellness of the guests, staff, and neighborhood. At least one staff member is on-site and awake 24/7/365. During the day and evening, there may be multiple staff on-site.

What is the level of training provided to staff?

Each peer-run respite is responsible for staff training and development. Many employees are certified peer specialists, a title earned through formal training and continuing education in the peer specialist model of mental health support. Each location also provides instruction on such topics as crisis de-escalation, cultural awareness, Emotional CPR, non-violent communication, and trauma-informed care.

Email questions to the Division of Care and Treatment Services.

Last Revised: January 28, 2021