About

Peer Wellness Collective

The Peer Wellness Collective, formerly known as Alameda County Network of Mental Health Clients (ACNMHC), was born out of the activism of the 1960s and 70s. As psychiatric institutions known for inhumane treatment and isolation were shut down throughout the 1950s and 60s, many former psychiatric inmates found one another and connected through their experiences. This led to a nationwide movement for the civil and human rights of people with mental health challenges, alongside other movements led by black folks, Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQIA+ individuals, womxn, Latinx (Latino/Latina) folks, and people with disabilities. ​

Primarily focused on the abuses they had experienced within the mental health system, this movement of ex-patients or psychiatric survivors created peer-run programs to support one another, marking the beginning of the consumer movement. Peer Wellness Collective was founded in 1988 by pioneers of this movement to support peer-run, self-help services for people with mental health and/or substance use challenges in Alameda County, CA. Today, we have six programs in the “Collective” led by people who have lived-experience* within the mental health community.

The mission of the Peer Wellness Collective, as a BIPOC* Peer*-Led and Operated Network, is to provide culturally responsive mental health* services, specifically by and for folx historically underserved and/or inappropriately served in order to create a just, safe, and healthy community for all.
We envision a world where members of the community have access to culturally appropriate and responsive mental health support that is holistic and person-driven.
  • We emphasize the value of Community
  • Our values are Peer-driven
  • We value and promote Mental Health
  • We are committed to Equity
  • We hold ourselves Accountable

The Peer Wellness Collective and the peer movement use the slogan “Nothing about us without us,” meaning decisions made that affect folks living with mental health and/or substance use challenges must not be made without them. However, it is also critically important to understand the intersectional nature of the peer community, and that stigmatization affects everyone differentially. The Collective acknowledges that the liberation and wellness for the mental health community cannot exist in isolation, and must be embedded in anti-racist and liberationists frameworks.

Meet the Team

Tracy Love - Board President at Peer Wellness Collective in Oakland, California

Tracy Love
(She/Her)

Board President
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Katrina Killian - Executive Director at Peer Wellness Collective in Oakland, California

Katrina Killian (She/Her)

Executive Director
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Elizabeth Gama - BestNow! Program Manager at Peer Wellness Collective in Oakland, California

Elizabeth Gama
(She/Her)

Director of Peer Services
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Chynell Clark - Associate Director of Training & Technology at Peer Wellness Collective in Oakland, California

Chynell Clark
(She/Her)

Associate Director of Training & Technology
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Gladys L. Yau

Latinx Program Coordinator, Berkeley Drop-In Center
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Ruby Butler - Resource Coordinator, Berkeley Drop-In Center at Peer Wellness Collective in Oakland, California

Ruby Butler

Reach Out, Program Manager
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Marissa Tampoya - Representative Payee, Berkeley Drop-In Center at Peer Wellness Collective in Oakland, California

Marissa Tampoya

Representative Payee, Berkeley Drop-In Center
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Nipun (Neel) Gupta - BestNow! Program Trainer at Peer Wellness Collective in Oakland, California

Nipun (Neel) Gupta
(He/Him)

BestNow! Program Trainer
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Markeeta Parker - BestNow! Program Trainer at Peer Wellness Collective in Oakland, California

Markeeta Parker
(She/Her)

BestNow! Program Trainer
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Stephen Keany Marks - BestNow! Program Trainer at Peer Wellness Collective in Oakland, California

Stephen Keany Marks
(He/Him)

BestNow! Program Trainer
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Natalie Stone - Reaching Across Program Manager at Peer Wellness Collective in Oakland, California

Natalie Stone
(She/Her)

Reaching Across Program Manager
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Rev. Barbara Myers - Program Coordinator, Reaching Across at Peer Wellness Collective in Oakland, California

Rev. Barbara Myers
(She/Her)

Program Coordinator, Reaching Across
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Gary Figuracion - Activities Assistant, Reaching Across at Peer Wellness Collective in Oakland, California

Gary Figuracion
(He/Him/His)

Activities Assistant, Reaching Across
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Karen Mabry - Reach Out Visit Coordinator at Peer Wellness Collective in Oakland, California

Karen Mabry
(She/Her)

Reach Out Visit Coordinator
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Dena Goad - Activity Coordinator, Reach Out at Peer Wellness Collective in Oakland, California

Dena Goad
(She/Her)

Activity Coordinator, Reach Out
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Chaleen White-Leach - Tenant Support Program Program Manager at Peer Wellness Collective in Oakland, California

Chaleen White-Leach
(Mrs.Chaleen)

Tenant Support Program Program Manager
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Edward Branco - Community Facilitator, Tenant Support Program at Peer Wellness Collective in Oakland, California

Edward Branco
(He/Him)

Community Facilitator, Tenant Support Program
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Join the Team

To Peer Support

The Collective Approach

To Peer Support

The Collective is successful in offering support by utilizing Peer best practices: meeting people where they are in the community, implementing peer-informed intervention techniques, and using the three principles of peer support as developed by one of our programs, BestNow!.

A group of people are in a group huddle, two of them smiling at each other

The Power of Mutuality

  • Each individual is assumed to have the best knowledge about themselves
  • People who receive peer support guide their own services
  • Peers are given the freedom and responsibility to communicate what works best for them
Two young men clasp hands while smiling at each other

The Power of People Finding Their Own Solutions

  • Peer Support workers’ role is not to “fix” the problems our Peers are facing
  • Peer Support workers are there to listen and let our Peers know that we believe in them
Two young women sit on a bench and talk

The Power of “Being With”

  • Just being in the present with a person builds trust
  • Peer Support workers accept participants for who they are and honor the choices they make

Our Community Support Programs

We are the first all peer-run, BIPOC led peer support service provider in the Bay Area. We are not a single program but rather a collective of 6 different programs that each provide their own services.

BERKELEY DROP-IN CENTER

Community Support Services

PEOPLE’S PLACE

Peer-Led Crisis Response & Respite Center

TENANT SUPPORT Program

Community Housing Services

REACH OUT

Peer-Ran Living Assistance Support

REACHING ACROSS

Peer-Ran Wellness Groups

BESTNOW!

Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Training

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