Second Story is a six-bed house that serves as a respite and a voluntary opportunity for individuals to learn to use relationships to move out of old roles and patterns. Staffed by “peers,” (people with lived experience of mood swings, consuming fears, voices, visions . . .) who have learned to be with some discomfort. The household provides an opportunity to experience what change feels like, and to learn new responses through relationships with each other. With the expectation that everyone is capable and inherently knows what they need, both paid staff and guests create a space for those qualities to surface. Along with creating a home, we share stories to connect and understand each other’s experiences, gently challenging ourselves to listen to the untold story. The hope is not to rebuild a culture of illness, but instead generate some sparkling moments of connection and trust.
Second Story is not a substitute for psychiatric hospitalization. Those who are drawn to the program develop a plan with staff for dealing with feelings and behaviors that in the past have led to inpatient stays. The first contact with staff is the beginning of using different views, working together to figure out what might be different. Second Story offers a maximum stay of 15 days in a home environment, and provides guests with opportunities to identify and plan for changes they feel will benefit them once they have returned home. All former guests are offered ongoing telephone support, and are welcome to visit when they need encouragement from their peers and Second Story staff. Program participants also have opportunities to enroll in Intentional Peer Support training and learn to be of assistance to others.
Second Story peer respite services are voluntary and available to Santa Cruz County adult residents (18 + years of age). If you are interested in being a guest, or you are a care provider or family member seeking support for someone, please call (831) 688-0967 for additional enrollment information.