Sunday, 25 February 2018

Welcome to the Western Mass Recovering Learning Community



The Western Mass Recovery Learning Community (RLC) supports healing and empowerment for our broader communities and people who have been impacted by psychiatric diagnosis, trauma, extreme states, homelessness, addiction and other life-interrupting challenges through:

  • Peer-to-peer support & genuine human relationships
  • Alternative Healing Practices
  • Learning Opportunities
  • Advocacy

Essential to our work is recognizing and undoing systemic injustices such as racism, sexism, transphobia and psychiatric oppression.


The RLC is made up of PEOPLE (not places) and is wherever and however YOU and others from the community may choose to connect.  Together, we offer a variety of events, workshops, trainings, advocacy and leadership councils, as well as a peer support line, three resource centers (Springfield, Greenfield, and Holyoke) and a Peer Respite in Northampton. Above all else, we create space for anyone who has a genuine interest in taking part in our community and holding its values to share and find connection, information, ideas and opportunities to make change in their own lives and/or the community around them. Our shared experiences and ‘humanness’ are what unite us. Our stories, collective wisdom and strength are what guide us and our community forward.    


The Recovery Learning Community (RLC) is a peer-run project providing supports to individuals with lived experience.  One of the founding concepts behind the RLC is that human relationships with people are healing, particularly when those people have similar experiences.  And so, above all else, the RLC strives to create forums through which human relationships, community and a regional network of supports can develop.  On a day-to-day basis, that effort may take the form of a community meeting, a support group, a computer workshop and/or simply offering a safe space where people can communicate with others or simply be.  The RLC also acts a clearing house for information about other resources in the community.   

 The Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community is funded, in part, by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, the United Way of Franklin County, and a variety of private foundations and donations.liveunited logo





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Peer Support Line


Feeling lonely, sad or in distress?


Are you looking for resource information? 


Just want to talk or be heard?



Have you ever tried calling a peer support line? 


Introducing the Western Mass Peer Support Line:


Open Friday through Monday, 8pm to midnight


Toll Free: 888.407.4515


What is a a peer support line?

A peer support line (sometimes referred to as a ‘warmline’) is a phone line that you can call during a designated set of days and hours to:

  • Get support
  • Ask about resources
  • Connect with another person who can relate or has ‘been there’
  • Just talk


As opposed to a crisis line that is answered by a clinician and focuses on whether or not you may qualify for hospitalization or respite, a peer support line is answered by a trained peer worker who has their own lived experience (with a psychiatric diagnosis, trauma, extreme or altered states, etc.) and who is there to talk and offer support.


Download a Peer Support Line flyer to help spread the word  flyers

Frequently asked questions about the Western Mass Peer Support Line

Other warmlines and peer support lines accessible to Massachusetts residents



Warmlines & Peer Support Lines


In addition to the Western Mass Peer Support Line, there are several warmlines and peer support lines that are accessible to Massachusetts residents. Below, you will find information about the 8 lines we are aware of that accept calls from people living in Massachusetts and their hours of operation. All hours listed have been translated into Massachusetts time!  (Hours and days listed are according to our last check, and may have since changed.)  

PLEASE NOTE:  Although the Western Mass Peer Support Line does not use caller ID, at least some of the lines listed below (including the Boston Peer Warmline and Edingburgh Warmline in Quincy, MA) do. Dialing *67 before dialing the line's number may help block your number from their caller ID.


Edinburgh Warmline (Quincy, MA)*
Monday through Sunday, 5:30pm to 9pm
Saturday, 4pm-9pm
Stepping Stone Warmline (New Hampshire)
7 days per week, 5pm to 10pm
 Dialing *67 before dialing the line's number may help block your number from their caller ID.
Empowerment Center Warmline*
Monday through Friday, 8am to 8pm
Support in Spanish is available
Allegheney County Warmline (Pennsylvania)*
866.661.9276 (866.661.WARM)
7 days per week, 10am to midnight
Support in Spanish available on on-call basis
Indiana Consumer Warmline (Indiana)*
800.933.5397 (800.933.KEYS)
Monday through Friday, 8am to 4:30pm
Compassionate Ear Warmline
866.927.6327 (866.WARM.EAR)
7 days per week, 3pm to 9pm
David Rompery Warmline
866.927.6327 (866.WARM.EAR)
Hours: 7 days a week, 9am-11pm
Accepting calls only from Oregon area codes.
* Lines marked with an asterisk have stated that they
may call crisis services, or the police,
during the course of a call if they feel they should.

Dialing *67 before dialing the line's number may help block your number from their caller ID.

For information about additional warmlines and peer support lines in other states, visit www.warmline.org

Peer Support Line FAQ

Have a question about the Western Mass Peer Support Line?  Check below to see if it's answered, or e-mail us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



 What is the main purpose of the Peer Support Line?

The main purpose of the Peer Support Line is to provide a listening ear and an opportunity to connect and talk with someone else who also identifies as having experienced some real challenges and interruptions in their own lives. The idea behind the line is that there are ways to not be alone in your distress and to think about how to move forward.The line is also open to people looking to gather resource information.


Is there any evidence to suggest that Peer Support Lines and warmlines help?

Yes, warmlines like the David Romprey Warmline in Oregon have tracked qualitative data including whether or not the person calling feels the call was helpful, and their research suggests that over 80% of people calling their warmline do feel that the call was a positive experience. (Visit the data pages on their website for more details.)  Experience has also demonstrated that many people who are afraid to call a crisis line for fear of being forced into hospitalization or other treatment ARE willing to call a Peer Support Line or Warmline, thus providing an opportunity to work through something before it gets worse and the risk of undesired interventions become more likely. Other research has focused on the way that the existence of warmlines and peer support lines can be helpful to clinicians on crisis lines. For example, one research study found that the existence of these lines also creates space for clinicians on crisis lines to do their job more effectively by being able to focus on calls that are really about evaluation for hospitalization and other traditional services. (Visit the National Empowerment Center's website for more information.)  


Is the Peer Support Line anonymous?  

It is our intent to have the Peer Support Line be anonymous. We do not support caller ID, and will not ask you to disclose your real name or location if you do not wish to do so. (It's always helpful to have a first name for conversation, but it doesn't have to be your real name!) Of course, if you are calling from Massachusetts, it's always possible that you'll know the person answering the Peer Support Line from other places. If that happens, the Peer Support Line worker can offer you information for other lines. You can also call the number and select the option for a recording with information about other lines, or look here. Please note that not all Warmlines and Peer Support Lines in the country are fully anonymous, as some of them have caller ID. Dialing *67 before you dial their number may help block your number from their system.


Do you take calls from people outside of Massachusetts?

Yes.  Although our main focus in developing this line has been Western Mass, we accept calls from anyone throughout the country.


Why are your hours so limited?

Currently, we only have enough funding for 16 hours per week. Our hope is to eventually be open every day from 8pm to 12am and possibly for more hours each day. However, any expansion will be based on our ability to raise funds. In the meantime, the hours we do offer are based on the Western Mass Warmline coalitions input and hours available through other lines. We also took into account that fewer resources in general are available on weekends and that there are more holidays (and hence, closures of other resources) on Mondays than any other day of the week.


Can I call the Peer Support Line if I'm feeling suicidal?

Yes. You can call the Peer Support Line with anything that may be going on for you, if you feel that talking with someone else and being heard may be helpful to where you're at. We will not try to trick you into disclosing personal information and will not pass you on to a crisis line, unless that is the support that you feel will be most helpful to you.


What sort of training do the Peer Support Line workers have?

Western Mass Peer Support Line workers who were hired when we first opened had the benefit of going through a full week of Intentional Peer Support training, as well as a two-day supplemental training on the practicalities of working the Peer Support Line itself. People hired after that initial period are trained by existing workers using the same concepts and approach, and will also have access to future training refreshers as they are available.


How well do Peer Support Line Workers know area resources?

The knowledge of each Peer Support Line Worker varies based on their own lived experience, their training and their time spent helping others connect to available community offerings. However, each Peer Support Line worker has access to resource books and a computer so that they can partner with you to find resources that may meet your needs and wants.


Is the Peer Support Line a good place to call to access other RLC resources like the peer respite?

Not really. The Peer Support Line Workers will be able to offer you information about other RLC resources like the peer respite (Afiya), RLC centers and other offerings, just like they will be able to offer you information about other non-RLC-based resources. However, the person answering the phone will not be able to begin the process of coming into Afiya, sign you up for a training or take your RSVP to an event. In those instances, you'll need to call person or place connected to that activity or process.


Will the Peer Support Line ever be adding hours?

Our hope is to eventually be open every day, and possibly for longer hours. However, any expansion will be based on our ability to raise funds. We do not have those funds secured at this time and do not have a timeline for when expansion will be possible.


Is the Peer Support Line accessible to people who speak other languages?

At present, we do have one person trained to answer the Peer Support Line who is able to speak Spanish and we hope to have another person trained soon. However, we do not have regular, scheduled hours that are accessible to people who speak Spanish or other languages. There are two lines available to Massachusetts residents who have stated that they are able to regularly offer supports in Spanish. They include the Allegheney Warmline in Pennsylvania, and the Empowerment Center Warmline in New York. To find out more about these lines, please visit this page.


How can I get involved in helping to expand the Peer Support Line?

One of the best ways to help us demonstrate the need for the Peer Support Line is to help spread the word so more people are calling and trying it out. Here's a copy of our flyer, if you want to post it as you go through your daily travels. Additionally, you can get involved in the Western Mass Warmline Coalition which meets quarterly to talk about how the line is developing and how to support its growth.


How are you connected to the Western Mass Warmline Coalition?

The Western Mass Warmline Coalition is facilitated by the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community, with membership from several organizations (the Center for Human Development, Carson Center, ServiceNet, etc.) and people in the community. The Coalition started meeting well before the Peer Support Line got up and running and was instrumental in the visioning process.  Initially, they met monthly but have recently moved to quarterly meetings to check in on progress and support future growth. If you are interested in being a part of the Western Mass Warmline Coalition, contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to ask to be added to the e-mail list.


Why did you choose the name 'Western Mass Peer Support Line' instead of 'Western Mass Warmline'?

After much discussion, many members of the Western Mass Warmline Coalition and others in our community agreed that 'warmline' suggested something less serious or derivative of a 'hotline' or crisis line. In reality, people sometimes call warmlines in a great deal of distress and really important connections with a great deal of depth can be made. Calling a warmline as opposed to a crisis line is generally more about wanting a different type of suppoort and/or having a different goal for the outcome of the call, than about it being less serious or important of a call. Hence, we decided to use the term 'peer support line' rather than 'warmline' in an effort to avoid feeding into that.





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  • The Murphy Bills and Beyond

    In June of 2015, Representative Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania re-introduced the "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act" (HR 2646), better known as the Murphy Bill.  A month later, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut introduced a very similar bill in the Senate called the "Mental Health Reform Act of 2015" (S2680).  Both pieces of legislation threatened to dramatically increase the use of force and dismantle many of the more progressive and healing alternatives that have been developed in recent years. As of November 2016 the fate of both bills remained uncertain.

    Meanwhile, another piece of legislation called 21st Century Cures was in development and garnering increasing bipartisan support. A sweeping and expansive healthcare bill, 21st Century Cures was, initially, minimally focused on mental health provisions. Having been stalled in part due to resistance from Senate Democrats' concerns that the bill was dangerously empowering for the pharmaceutical industry, 21st Century Cures also faced an uncertain fate in November. However, the election of President Trump and consequent fears for the bill’s fate prompted a reworking of the bill that also included the absorption of many aspects of HR 2646, “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis.”

    21st Century Cures was passed by the House and Senate on November 30th and December 7th of last year, respectively. On December 13, 21st Century Cures (now including substantial portions drawn directly from HR 2646, "Helping Familties in Mental Health Crisis") was signed into law by President Obama. 



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