Check out our slideshow of Iris Place.
About Iris Place
What is Iris Place? Iris Place, the state's first peer run respite center, offers a short-term stay in a home-like environment with peer support for adults who want and need peer support to navigate a time of increased stress, emotional distress or crisis related to trauma, mental health and/or substance abuse.
Iris Place, which opened in spring 2015, is located at 1213 S. Matthias St. in the former convent and home to Head Start on the grounds of St. Bernadette Parish. Iris Place features five private bedrooms, shared bathrooms, a renovated kitchen where guests prepare their own meals, and a large living room. The house features accessible bedrooms and bathrooms on the main floor along with a resource room/library. During the summer months, guests can also enjoy the backyard patio.
Iris Place’s mission is to provide a safe and welcoming environment that offers an opportunity for individuals who are experiencing emotional distress or crisis to grow and change through the support of others with lived experience.
Iris Place is open 24/7/365 and is staffed by a team of nine "peer companions" who are trained to provide peer support, connect guests to community resources, and support guests as they develop their recovery plans. All of the staff have lived experience related to mental health, substance abuse and/or trauma and have received training on using their experience to support others.
Iris Place is not a walk-in center. Potential guests first must call and talk to one of Iris Place’s Peer Companions to see if Iris Place is a good fit for them. Guests may stay up to fi
ve nights during a single stay and there is no charge. Iris Place is available to all Wisconsin adults who want and are seeking peer support. It is completely self-referred and voluntary.
Bringing Iris Place into existence has been a labor of love and dream ful
lled for Iris Place former Director Karen Iverson Riggers, who wrote the state grant application that secured the $441,000 funding for Iris Place. Karen previously served as NAMI Fox Valley's development director. NAMI Fox Valley was one of three agencies in the state to receive such grants. Funding for the development and operation of peer run respites was included in Governor Scott Walker’s package of mental health initiatives in the 2013-15 biennial budget. The other two peer run respite centers are located in Menomonie and Madison.