Sheri King is Program Director for the Impeerium Peer Network in Plattsburgh.
Impeerium helps people move forward with confidence and skills.
The goal is to empower them to begin pursuing their goals and wants.
“Whatever that person wants, we are here to assist,” said Sheri King, Program Director at Impeerium Peer Network located at 14 Healey Avenue in Plattsburgh.
Impeerium, hosted by NAMI, is a peer-based program to provide support for those who have used mental health services or are currently using them.
It opened a few months ago after NAMI was awarded a three-year grant that originated through the Office of Mental Health to establish recovery centers.
All services are free, and on Thursday, Dec. 13, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Impeerium is hosting an open house at its location at 14 Healey Avenue with light refreshments.
“The state realized the need is there,” King said. “Peer to peer is a different relationship than clinician to client.”
But she stressed that Impeerium does not operate in place of other professionals, but in conjunction with them.
Employees, considered peers to those they assist, must also have used mental health services or currently use them.
A skill builder assists when an individual wants to learn something new or, for example, take a class. A first step might be sitting in and monitoring a college course and the next step could be determining interests.
The support specialist provides emotional support.
The community integration specialist networks peers with community activities.
The benefits advisor assists with filling out forms, such as Medicaid and SSI.
“We offer support that is very individualized,” King said.
One person might walk in wanting to learn how to use a computer, someone else may need an ear, perhaps another individual has trouble filling out forms.
“We are here to assist individuals to move forward and gain confidence and skills and empower them to do whatever they want to do,” King said.
King always wanted to help others and enjoys working with people.
She’s earning a degree in mental health counseling and after she was hired this past July, she began setting up the office and looking for peers to fill the positions.
“The peer-based program is kind of new, and we are all learning and gathering information along the way.”
Impeerium holds social events and classes to provide opportunities for peers to get to know each other and start forming a network.
One goal is to set up satellite locations in surrounding communities to provide services to individuals who might have difficulty making it in to Plattsburgh.
“We are still new, but my hope is different events will bring in more people,” King said. “I think of this as a place anyone would walk into and feel comfortable.”
For more information call 324-6250.