About

Mission & Values

The Empowerment Initiatives Mission

To be a catalyst providing individuals with mental health diagnoses opportunities for choice and development of personal goals, using the four principles of self determination.

Our Values

  • People are the masters of their own lives.  Each individual has the power and responsibility for self-healing.
  • People gain independence through self-discovery by making personal choices free from coercion.
  • Self-discovery includes the freedom to make mistakes and to learn from one’s personal journey.
  • The community has the responsibility to broaden horizons and break down barriers to include all people.  Inclusion means that the civil rights of all citizens are respected.
  • Change is possible for individuals in society.  Hope is powerful.

Peer Support Model

Description of peer support model: Peer Delivered Services is a growing model in the fields of mental health, substance abuse treatment and corrections. It is strongly supported by the Oregon Addictions and Mental Health Services Division. In Clackamas County, the Peer Delivered Services Steering Committee is working to integrate it into county services.

The Oregon Addictions and Mental Health Services Division (AMH) defines Peer Delivered Services as “an array of agency or community-based services and supports provided by peers, and peer support specialists, to individuals or family members with similar lived experience, that are designed to support the needs of individuals and families as applicable.”

Empowerment Initiatives believes that that elimination and/or successful management of mental health symptoms is only the first step in mental health recovery.  We see true recovery as a result of creating a productive, integrated life where mental health challenges are only one part of a person’s identity. Peer delivered services are designed to support and assist people in achieving a healthy lifestyle. As such they are not clinical treatment, but can be supportive of treatment and help reduce crises and achieve better outcomes, kept appointments and medication compliance (or reduced need for medication.)

Read more: Peer Support Model

Lived Experience

Peer specialists have lived experience: Empowerment Initiatives is a Peer-run organization. All EI staff has experienced mental health issues and most have received treatment, counseling or services. In addition to mental health issues, some peer specialists have lived experience with addictions recovery and/or criminal justice involvement and incarceration.

Insofar as possible, Empowerment Initiatives attempts to staff positions with individuals who, through similar personal experience and with appropriate skills, can understand the needs of customers with mental health issues and provide effective assistance. Because of this hiring policy, our trained peer mentor staff is able to model the possibilities of self-sufficiency and independence despite having mental health challenges and/or diagnoses. Some of our staff are graduates of our programs and all of us have been mental health consumers in one form or another.

Agency History

In May of 2005 Empowerment Initiatives Inc. was established as an independent 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and separated from OTAC with consultation assistance from Diane Duerschiedt.

By October 2005, EI established the Clackamas County Community Brokerage followed by the Clackamas County Housing Brokerage in May of 2006. The housing brokerage was established following the outcome of a court case between the Oregon State Hospital and Oregon Advocacy Center.

In 2005 Empowerment Initiatives was contracted by Clackamas County Mental Health to develop and present SPIRIT (Service Provider Individualized Recovery Intensive Training). SPIRIT was an 8 week Peer Advocacy and Support training designed by Pat Risser.  This pilot program was designed as collaboration between consumer/survivors, family members, and local mental health service providers. The intention behind SPIRIT was to educate customers of Clackamas County Mental Health to take responsibility for their own well-being and make a shift from dependency to empowerment.  In 2006, The Oregon Department of Human Services Vocational Rehabilitation Division (ODHS/VRD) contracted with EI to provide peer mentorship training for their customers with mental health diagnosis. Following additional VR funding, three 10 week sessions of SPIRIT were presented with the fourth class graduating in the spring of 2007.

Read more: Agency History

I am James Chasse

Warm Line

Sometimes, instead of therapy, we just need a friendly person to listen and care about what we're going through. Peer counselors are available free to all Oregon residents.

Dial 1-800-698-2392

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Empowerment Initiatives
PO Box 30596
(503) 249-1413
FAX: (503) 282-1554