Steve Miccio, a favorite presenter at the ‘Recovery Conference’ conference this year, has a favorite comment that he uses when he is trying to provoke thoughtful responses. It’s not really just a comment–it is kind of a challenge: . . . “How’s that working for ya?” he says to his staff at the respite and hospital diversion houses and he uses it with policy makers and others. I love the comment because it causes a listener to pause and evaluate whether an approach or action is yielding the results actually sought. Steve, one of the early consumer turned providers in New York, shared about the role of peer specialists in responding to people in crisis, including the peer respite model. He also shared a very engaging presentation on developing peer operated services, and interest of many here in North Carolina. And in many of his instructional stories, he would tell about asking someone, “How’s that working for ya?” It was kind of tongue-and-cheek, but it was also honestly intended. I really liked it.
The Recovery Conference is a great place to come together each year to consider new ideas, to refuel, and to ask ourselves about our work together in our state–how’s this working for us? And more to the point, what can we each do to have the best yields from our efforts, whether they are advocacy or service efforts or policy efforts?
This year, there were many participants from the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services. We had staff from other departments of DHHS as well! There were staff there interested in crisis solutions, there were some there interested in promoting recovery through our current Transitions to Community Living initiative. We hope they learned a lot, as many of us did, from the various presentations.
We also had a productive advocacy meeting on the first evening and decided on a couple of new ideas: Invest in Recovery will be a new advocacy theme in our state and beyond, likely to be rallied through NC CANSO and the coalition, NC ROCs. Furhter, we created a petition with space for personal input by conference attendees which we had signed by more than sixty people which will go to Representative Ellmers’ office as well as Representative Walter Jones’ office to ask that they not support the ‘Murphy Bill’ but support a better, broader based bill that would be characterized respect the rights of clients.
We appreciated an inspiring keynote by Phillip Valentine from Connecticut, who has helped to develop a state-wide approach to building recovery communities where people with substance use issues could go to connect, learn, grow, and focus on re-building a life, healing beyond abstinence. So much of what he shared was relevant to recovery of all kinds, and the folks in the room who have recovered from substance use habits were excited to hear his encouragement.
Our keynote on the second day Lyn Legere, shared her remarkable story, her hope, and the fact of how much money is saved in public dollars when a person stops depending on ‘the system.’ She spoke of the role of employment in recovery and validated the work many are doing with supported employment with our new definition. Lyn will now be living in North Carolina, working with Cherene Caraco through Promise Resource Network. Yeah!
Our conference is growing by each year! Attendance continues to climb. Look for information about 2015 by late summer and be sure to register!
Also, to learn more about this year’s conference, you can read here: www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/2014/12/01/changing-the-paradigm-for-mental-health-care-in-north-carolina/