Home > Programs and Services Overview > Specific Program Information

FRIENDSHIP LINE   1.866.525.1442

– Daily 9:00am – 3:00pm

– If you’re located in North America, you can dial 211 to be connected with a local community resource specialist.

– In the event of an emergency dial 911

The Friendship Line is a consumer operated warm-line that specializes in peer support. It is the mission of the St. Louis Empowerment Center’s Friendship Line to provide friendly, recovery orientated, peer-support to individuals who are not currently in a crisis situation through telephone conversations. The Friendship Line is open to everyone and is funded through a generous grant from the Missouri Department of Mental Health. Whenever you feel the need to talk to someone who is friendly and understanding, just give us a call!



In 2013, the St. Louis Empowerment Center began implementing an employment program designed to assist participants as they seek and eventually maintain employment.  Participants in this program attend a weekly employment group and benefit from the services of an on-site employment specialist who provides one-on-one guidance during the job-search process.


The St. Louis Empowerment Center is staffed by consumer workers, many of whom started out as program participants.  Four full-time prosumer employees, who have education and/or experience commensurate to a bachelor’s degree in addition to being a consumer of mental health services, provide day-to-day coverage and training for the entry level paraprofessional positions throughout the program.  These paraprofessionals function as program assistants for many different programs at the St. Louis Empowerment Center.



Program staff work in concert with program participants to provide assistance to individuals with mental illness (and their family members) who are attempting to receive social welfare benefits. These benefits may include (but are not limited to) social security disability insurance (SSDI), supplemental security income (SSI), food stamps, vocational rehabilitation services, inpatient or outpatient treatment at public health facilities (not limited to psychiatric treatment), services provided by traditional day treatment facilities, and housing and habitation services.


Frequently, mental health consumers are not empowered to become strong self-advocates as they work to ensure their own adequate access to resources to which they are entitled. This may be due to the demoralizing aspects of illness, side effects of medication, and a sense of l0w self-esteem that can result from an increasing sense of societal marginalization. Program consumers most in need of information and assistance are often the least able to negotiate a system that is complex, fragmented, and always changing.


Prosumer staff at the St. Louis Empowerment Center are available to intervene with agencies to ensure receipt of services and may accompany program participants to appointments with services providers as the face interviews, appeals, and other processes. Over time, program participants who have themselves successfully negotiated various entitlement systems will be able to act as mentors and assist their peers.



It’s a very exciting time at the Empowerment Center, as we’ve just finished deploying an on-site computer lab for the benefit of program participants who might not have regular access to online resources. The lab consists entirely of refurbished PC’s running a low-power, user-friendly distribution of Linux, and we’re very proud of it! Already people have begun making use of it for online research and education, to polish résumés and submit job applications, to reach out to family and friends, and (of course) to play some games.


The lab demonstrates the Empowerment Center’s commitment to sustainable technology use as we go to great pains to repurpose previously-discarded equipment, thus keeping it out of landfills! As a highly-resourceful Starfleet engineer once sagely propounded, “Just because something’s old, doesn’t mean you throw it away.”



– LUNCH: It is the policy of the St. Louis Empowerment Center to provide free lunch for its program participants at noon on Monday through Friday. Participants must attend one of the self-help meetings held at the Center at 11:00am if they wish to partake in lunch. When available, additional snacks are served in the afternoon.


The St. Louis Empowerment Center receives donations of food from a variety of local charitable organizations and individual donors. Grant funds purchase food from super markets, as well as the St. Louis Area Food Bank.


In addition, the St. Louis Empowerment Center regularly receives donations of food from Operation Food Search. This food is available for anyone in need of assistance, and is distributed to program participants, part-time line staff, and other social service agencies.