Southeast Health has a support group with no strings attached

Community Conversations had a program on Thursday evening which told the people at the Barista meeting about a service of the Southeast Health Service already in place and one that is coming which will take substance abusers and mental health problems into treatment instead of jail. Rebekah Mazarella, Rhonda Murray and Linda Leffingwell represented Peer 613; Mike Engebrecht and Terrie Leonard represented the new in-house treatment program facility currently under construction.

The Peer 613 program is housed immediately behind the Southeast Health Center at 613 Barnes Ave. A homelike atmosphere with a living room, a room with children’s toys for moms who must have their children with them (it’s better to leave them with mom if you can), and a kitchen where snacks are prepared is available for some time periods every day of the week and by telephone always. The people who staff the house are trained to listen non-judgmentally, give a shoulder to lean on, support and help with decision making and setting boundaries. A peer is someone that has cleaned up their own dustiest corners of life and is willing to support you through dealing with yours. This service is free. The hours are Monday though Thursday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 12 noon to 6 p.m.

The other service, which will be available this spring or early summer, was introduced by Mike Engebrecht, a former member of the La Junta Police Department. Engebrecht said that he and other members of the police and sheriff’s department have long known that it would be better for everyone to have a place other than jail to take a person who is simply a public nuisance because of substance abuse or a mental health problem. The building, which is or soon will be under construction or remodeling, will have six beds for substance abuse problems and six beds for mental health problems. It will be a Regional Assessment Center. The maximum stay is three days, time to find a longer solution for the problem.

If you are interested in helping with the Peer 613 project, they can use trainees. Their statement: “If you have lived through recovery and have a drive to help others, ask us about becoming a peer specialist!” The phone is (719) 383-5454.