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Peer Support Academies

group of individuals in a support group
Supporting Mental and Emotional Wellness in Blount, Knox, and Sevier Counties

What is Recovery?

Recovery is an ongoing, personal journey of healing and transformation for persons who have mental health conditions. Part of recovery is resiliency – the ability to bounce back.  At Peninsula’s Peer Support Academies, PSAs, members learn how to take ownership of their journey to recovery and improve their resilience. Members can learn to change the way they react to the people and situations over which they have no control. They learn to identify and manage negative thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors that can lead to emotional distress and stress-related physical symptoms. And they do all of this as they engage with peers – who are people like them, people who understand.  Statistics show one in four adults in East Tennessee have some type of mental health condition.

About the Peer Support Academy Program

Peninsula’s PSA’s offer services for men and women age 18 and older in Blount, Knox and Sevier counties and have a mental illness.  Peer Support Academies supplement members’ mental health services by providing socialization opportunities, as well as education and support groups to enhance wellness. The academies are staffed by certified peer support specialists who have completed a 40-hour training program through the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, TDMHSAS.

Peer support specialists are trained to share their own experiences with mental illness and recovery in order to inspire hope and teach wellness skills. All services are provided at no cost and it is not necessary for you to be a patient of Peninsula. The program is funded by a grant from the state.

What to Expect at Peninsula’s Peer Support Academies

The Peer Support Academy programs currently provide classes and small support groups in-person and virtually. In these groups participants can learn wellness tools and gain support and confidence as they practice these skills. Each student will also have the choice to develop his or her own Wellness Recovery Action Plan™ (WRAP). This is a system that strengthens recovery by helping students learn how to maintain wellness and deal with potential problems. Other classes may include life skills, diet and nutrition, grief and loss, anger management and learning about your diagnosis and medications. Confidentiality and respect are the most important agreements for participants.

View or download the Peer Support brochure here.


Peer Support Academy – Blount
2339 Jones Bend Road, Administration Building
Contact: Eric Poulsen 865-680-7682

Peer Support Academy – Knox
1451 Dowell Springs Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37909
Contact: Rae Mullenbach 865-363-2819

1451 Dowell Springs Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37909
Contact: Melissa Bowman 865-660-3041

Peer Support Academy – Sevier
509 High Street
Sevierville, TN 37862
Contact: David Berry 865-556-7961

How to Get Involved!

Locate the center nearest you and call the contact number.

If staff does not answer, leave a message with your name and a phone number where you can be reached. Your call will be returned within 24 hours.

The Academies are supported through a grant from the State of Tennessee, so there is no charge for this program and all participation is voluntary.

Behavioral Health

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