The president and CEO of New York City-based addiction treatment organization Odyssey House sees his field as increasingly successful in engaging people into treatment but less adept in extending recovery post-treatment. Through a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Peter Provet, PhD’s organization will be able to build on recovery support efforts by matching individuals in recovery to peer mentors who will help them realize the goals of multidimensional recovery plans.
“This project is about building recovery into the community,” says Provet, whose organization employs the therapeutic community (TC) model of treatment. “This is lengthening the methodology of recovery.”
The three-year, $1.2 million SAMHSA grant is expected to finance an initiative that will launch in December and will provide mentoring services for 330 individuals. Potential peer mentors, who will not be required to be Odyssey House program graduates, will be interviewed and will receive formal training through a recovery coaching academy housed in Connecticut.
“We want to find mature individuals who are in it for the right reasons, who are solidly in their own recovery and are not just counseling in order to have their own needs met,” Provet says. Mentors will receive a stipend of around $65 a week. They will be required to have at least six months of post-treatment stability in order to work with clients.
The mentors will assist individuals in early recovery in developing concrete recovery plans covering a number of life domains, from substance use to financial independence to social support. In what Provet considers to be a critical element of the grant program, rewards will be offered for meeting goals of participation, with small gift cards and the opportunity to win larger prizes available to the mentees.
Individuals in treatment will be informed of the services’ availability before they complete treatment. Attempts will be made to match clients and mentors according to age and gender.
And in keeping with the idea of “giving back” that is inherent in this initiative, mentees will have the opportunity to become mentors themselves, sometime after completing an estimated six months to a year in the program, Provet explains.