Get to the Root of It: Local Biz Offers Peer Mentorship, Mental Wellness Services
compassion, empathy at the center of new wellness business
Renee Sommer had her “Aha!” moment in the fall of 2020, while seeking therapy for her anxiety, and the therapist said that they had never experienced anxiety first hand. Renee thought, “Why am I talking to you about this if you don’t actually get it?” She wanted to know that her mental healthcare providers understood where she was coming from and could validate her experiences. That's what led her to launch At the Roots this past April – the day after she passed her state-certified peer specialist training program.
Our job isn't to fix people. It's to support and empower them.
founder of at the roots
The goal of the business, Sommer said, is to offer an alternative to clinical therapy. Sommer’s background experience with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, sexual assault, self-harm, and suicidal ideation offered her the experience and empathy needed to launch her business, write books, and attend school for her psychology degree. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, she also feels ignited to foster connections with people from diverse backgrounds to help people of all kinds to reclaim their lives and find joy.
“Our job isn’t to fix people,” Sommer said. “It’s to support and empower them.”
A typical session (though a session looks different for everyone!) may include listening, encouraging, sharing life experiences, and offering hope, while the client does the tough emotional work to build a joyful life. Some people create art while navigating grief, some play sports to learn new coping skills, play games to encourage opening up, and there's even support for folks learning more adult skills.
“I’ve gone from crying with someone on the sofa over a cup of coffee to making art with a teen on the same day,” Sommer said.
Renee’s husband, Mike, quit his factory job of 14 years to become co-owner and peer mentor in September. He is deeply passionate about men’s mental health and helping families accept, love, and support one another.
The pair aspire to fill the gaps in mental health by making the unique power of peer support accessible to more people by partnering with businesses to offer reduced cost peer support for employees and families.
For more information about At the Roots LLC, visit attherootsllc.com.