Grassroots Empowerment Project is a statewide non-profit organization engaged in direct peer support services, wellness and recovery education and training, and advocacy. Our mission is to create opportunities for people seeking mental health, recovery, and wellness to exercise power in their lives. Our board and staff are all “experts by experience.”

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What We Do.

The core of our services is people. Just not any people, but people who have lived and experienced the things they are talking about. They bring to the table not only compassion, wisdom and support, but experience.


Programs and Services

  • Grassroots Wellness Peer Run Respite in Western Wisconsin
  • Participatory Decision Making facilitation with project partners throughout the state and as a fee for service
  • Empowerment Days, our annual advocacy event
  • United We Stand Wisconsin network of over 400 peers and allies
  • Peer Link Program in partnership with Optum Health to provide peer support in Milwaukee, Brown, and Racine County
  • Peer support services with various organizations
  • Provide training in— Emotional CPR Participatory Decision-Making Certified Peer Specialist Training Trauma Informed Care
  • Advocate for policies that support and empower people seeking mental health, recovery, and wellness
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Program Details

An alternative to hospitalization and traditional medical services where people who need and want peer support to navigate or avoid a crisis related to mental health and/or substance use challenges. The respite house will be available for and free for anyone in Wisconsin. All of the trained staff are people with lived experience of mental health and/or substance use challenges.

In 2013 Grassroots Empowerment Project established a pilot program partnering with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to provide peer support services offered by State-Certified Peer Specialists to those pursuing vocational and recovery-oriented goals. These services have been open to persons with mental health and/or substance use challenges within the Workforce Development Area (WDA) 10. WDA 10 serves people in six Wisconsin counties including Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Jefferson, Marquette, and Sauk. The pilot program produced positive results and has recently, as of July 2015, graduated into a solid, stand-alone fee-for-service peer support program.

GEP is very excited to announce the newly awarded 2015-2018 Statewide Consumer Network grant through funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This project serves to support reentry and community integration of criminal justice-involved consumers through the development of a reentry peer specialist model in Wisconsin. Using Participatory Decision Making GEP will facilitate monthly meetings with individuals from multiple stakeholder groups to develop a model for reentry peer support. GEP will then train criminal justice-involved consumers and support them as they provide peer support.


“I know you can’t live on hope alone; but without hope, life is not worth living.  So you, and you and you: you got to give them hope; you got to give them hope.”  ― Harvey Milk


A Case for Veteran Peer-Run Respites

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The Road to Recovery: Transportation and Mental Health

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Reduction of Stigma in the Schools through Mental Health Education

June 30th, 2015|Comments Off on Reduction of Stigma in the Schools through Mental Health Education



A non-medical crisis alternative located in Menomonie, Wisconsin.

IMAGINE experiencing emotional crisis as an opportunity for growth and change.

IMAGINE a homelike place where you can safely explore that opportunity.

IMAGINE people there for you when you need their support.

IMAGINE they understand and believe in you because they’ve been where you are.



What we stand for.


Our Beliefs

As people seeking mental health, recovery, and wellness for ourselves and others we believe that:

  • Choice, dignity, respect, and personal power are necessary for wellness
  • Each of us has the right to define recovery and wellness
  • Treatment and services should be safe, healing, and based on our strengths and wholeness
  • Pain, isolation, and trauma can be transformed into healing, connection, and resilience
  • Peer Support can inspire hope and provide powerful support to people on their pathways to recovery and wellness
  • Our civil and human rights should not be threatened due to stigma, bias, distortion, or social discrimination
  • Peer-led recovery and wellness organizations should lead in transforming the mental health system and challenging social discrimination

We Will

Be an organization run by and for people with lived experience of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, including people with needs that encompass substance abuse and addiction and those who self-identify as people with lived experience regardless of diagnosis or treatment

  • Be guided by and give voice to people with lived experience
  • Increase the knowledge, skills and power of people to advocate for themselves and each other
  • Advocate for people with lived experience in coalition with other organizations
  • Support and engage in peer-run and recovery-driven initiatives
  • Share our knowledge and experience in order to promote positive views of people with lived experience
  • Create and support opportunities for meaningful involvement and leadership in the advancement of recovery and wellness
  • Communicate and collaborate in ways that support consensus and positive change
  • Commit to being trauma-informed and carry out our mission in ways that prevent and promote healing of emotional trauma
  • Champion human rights and challenge stigmatization and social discrimination
  • Commit to the ongoing project of grassroots empowerment for people seeking recovery and wellness
We are funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, Optum Health, a variety of project grants and fee-for-service contracts, Community Shares of Wisconsin, and private donations.