Introduction to Alyssum
Alyssum is a newly organized non-profit incorporated under the laws of Vermont. Alyssum has been formed to assist Vermont residents who are in need of immediate mental health support and who are seeking an alternative to the medical model of treatment (herein after referred to as a peer).
The Mission of the corporation is to provide a peer operated, non-medical, holistic approach to mental wellness and recovery for Vermonters who are experiencing emotional crisis. This alternative to psychiatric hospitalization will provide a safe, mutually supportive, non-judgmental, educational and self-empowering environment. Alyssum will afford individuals the opportunity to engage in the principles of wellness, recovery and peer support and to emerge from crisis with wisdom and the personal responsibility skills for living well.
Alyssum is in its formative stages and is currently working on the many developmental steps necessary to successfully move an organization forward. Alyssum plains to open a two bedroom respite house in the Central Vermont area that will be governed, operated and staffed by peers who have a lived experience with the mental health system. The house will be available for short term respite stays by guests who are experiencing an emotional situation where peers will serve to support the guest toward wellness.
Activities at Alyssum will include:
- Providing community resources to peers and mutual peer support, the promotion of opportunities to educate individuals at risk of psychiatric intervention about mental health issues, and to provide assistance and support.
- Nurturing an environment that will foster independence, strengthen decision making skills, empower individuals to influence the resources that affect their lives, and promote acceptance of different levels of healing and recovery.
- Obtaining private, foundation, corporate and government funds, donations and grants to carry out the mission of the corporation.
Alyssum will be a "home-like" facility. Our guests will have their own rooms and
privacy. In addition, there will be community spaces including a kitchen, dining room and living room. The house will have a maximum capacity of two guests. Alyssum is not meant to be a homeless shelter; when guests come to Alyssum they must have a place to return to. The projected length of stay is up to 2 weeks.
The guests, along side of staff members and volunteers, will help maintain the operations of the house. Guests will partake in the decisions that determine the flow of daily life within the Alyssum community. The staff will create a safe environment where residents are safe, feel supported by peers, and can conduct their daily life activities while recovering. Guests are encouraged to help each other in whatever ways they can.
One of the key essential elements at Alyssum House will be the utilization of non-professional peer staff members who are familiar with the philosophy, values and
techniques of peer support and who do not come with preconceived notions that mental illness is a chronic and lifelong disabling condition.
Alyssum is governed by a Board of Directors, a majority of whom are peers and who are members of the Central Vermont community from various backgrounds.