The REAL Program
Amie is in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse that started when she was 12. In her early 30's, she started experiencing mental health psychosis. She had a total of 52 criminal convictions before she first encountered Mental Health Association (MHA). Now, Amie is a certified peer support and wellness specialist with the MHA and at the time of this story, Amie was preparing for a trip to Washington DC to speak to lawmakers about the success of the REAL program.
The REAL program in Lincoln is the only program in the country that connects people who have lived experience with mental-illness to mentally-ill people that have non-criminal interactions with the Lincoln Police Department (LPD). These "peers" work directly with those referred to the REAL program by the LPD - BEFORE they commit crimes.
As LPD's liaison to mental health providers in Lincoln, Sergeant John Walsh works directly with the peers in the REAL program.
(Story by Community Health Endowment of Lincoln, 2016. Photography by Kathy Plunkett)