Circle of Hope, a program at Annie’s Outreach, recently marked its 10th year in existence.
“What we find in the mental health community is it’s very hard for the (clients) to focus for any length of time on any program, so for this to be in existence for 10 years, was a very big deal for them,” said Sue Scott, executive director of Safe Harbor Peer Support Services, which operates Annie’s Outreach at 325 S. Sandusky St., Suite 100; and No Limits in Morrow County.
What makes Circle of Hope unique is that it is a peer-led group.
“It’s led by one of them, and it’s for them,” Scott said. “They come up with topics. During the celebration, their topic was hope. They went around the room, and they discussed hope. A lot of them don’t have hope in their existence.”
The 20 or so consumers, as the clients call themselves, talked about their week, what is bothering them, and the weekly topic. Cake and refreshments were served, and they played bingo afterwards.
“Most importantly, they talk about recovery,” Scott said. “Our mission is to increase self-esteem, independence and quality of life.”
Scott said that everyone that comes into Annie’s Outreach center “has a mental health issue — some diagnosed, some not diagnosed.” They must also be 18 or older.
Annie’s Outreach provides “consumer-operated services for adults with a mental illness, plus their family and caregivers,” said the Safe Harbor website. “Support groups, educational classes, socialization activities, and much more are available.”
Among the other programs Annie’s Outreach offers is the making and selling of soap by its consumers.
“We’ve been doing that for three years,” Scott said. “They sell the soap at craft shows. For so many of them, it’s hard to get out into the public eye, so this builds up their confidence. It’s a learning experience, and that’s a big deal for them.”
Annie’s Outreach is closed on Veterans Day. It is normally open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, visit www.shpss.org or call 740-363-1619.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.