Respite Centers – An Alternative to Hospitalization

Summary of Panel Presentation

Peer respite centers offer a place for adults to stay on a short-term basis when they are experiencing or on the verge of a mental health crisis and are in need of support and services. These programs are meant to serve as an alternative that aims to avoid the repetitive cycle of hospitalizations that many individuals experience, and avoid the dis empowerment often associated with this experience. The environment of these centers is meant to be one of equality and mutual respect, where peers (both staff and guests) can share, teach and learn from each other. The program is centered around reciprocal relationships and the elimination of an “us” and “them” way of thinking. Respite centers have thus far proven to be efficacious alternatives to hospitalization in several other states and New Jersey is the latest state to adopt this type of programming into the range of services available to individuals in need. Our hope is that the model proves to be an effective one in New Jersey, and a resource for the community as a whole.



Elena Kravitz, Manager, Collaborative Support programs of New Jersey (CSPNJ)Elena Kravitz is currently Manager of Moving Forward Community Wellness Center in Middlesex County. She came into Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey (CSPNJ) as a Wellness Associate for the Middlesex County Wellness Respite Services. Elena has been involved in the peer survivor movement for many years throughout the state of NJ. She has assumed many roles and leadership positions as an advocate for peer mental health rights and wellness. She is a State Trainer for two of NAMI NJ Signature programs: In Our Own Voice (IOOV) and NAMI Connection.


Christopher Falco, M.A., Legacy Treatment Services, Program Director

Christopher Falco has worked in the field of mental health and addiction services for nearly 13 years, acting as a residential counselor, clinician and program coordinator/director for the past 8 years with experience with both adolescents and adults. Belief in recovery and crisis being an opportunity for growth are central to his treatment practices.




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