South Beach Psychiatric Center Consumers Turn Tables on
On Sunday, September 14th, an historical event took place.
People with psychiatric disabilities who reside at South Beach Psychiatric Center (SBPC) organized, financed, and orchestrated a barbecue on the grounds of SBPC.
In what appears to be a first ever consumer initiative of its
kind, the event was attended by approximately 90 people, including
peers, family members and - yes - even hospital staff!
The people who organized the barbecue come from a group that
meets every Saturday in their own space called “The Living
Room”. Thanks to the efforts of both progressive staff and peer
leaders at SBPC, the “Living Room” concept was born. This
peer-run environment gives members the opportunity to interact
informally in a safe space and create their own norms and
desires. The open group is encouraged to bring friends and
family members into a comfortable space. Their energy comes
from the blend of South Beach campus residents and their peers, many of whom “have been there” and are on their way to successful careers and lifestyles in the community.
The Living Room organizing committee found a very cooperative
spirit when proposing the event to South Beach administrators. Guy Vendra, who runs the cafeteria at South Beach, donated his time by
working on Sunday to do the cooking. Thanks are in order to all
those involved in making the day a success. This happening is a
testimonial to the quality of life found at SBPC.