Events and Learning Opportunities

Please feel free to send us information about events which you may want to share.  Address:




September 9, 16, and 23, 2014, 1:00 – 2:15 pm ET

SAMHSA’s National Center for Trauma-Informed Care (NCTIC) will host a series of three 75-minute webinars in September 2014 that will introduce key concepts in NCTIC’s day-long Trauma-Informed Peer Support (TIPS) training. 

The primary audience is people who provide peer support – including people working as peer specialists or in similar roles, people involved in independent peer support groups, and people working in or receiving services from peer-run programs. The series would also be of interest to administrators, clinicians, and supervisors in organizations that employ peer specialists and people in similar roles, or those interested in incorporating trauma-informed peer support into their programs.   Each session will include 60 minutes of presentation and 15 minutes for discussion and questions.

We encourage participation in all three events – they will be archived for anyone who is not able to attend a session or misses the series.


September 9, 2014:  Trauma and its Impact/ Cultural Considerations

Presenters will define trauma and discuss its impact on individuals and communities, as well as the prevalence of trauma histories among people who use services. This session will also address how the experience of trauma and healing is strongly affected by cultural considerations such as race and ethnicity, gender, age, language and family history.

Presenters: Cathy Cave and Darby Penney


September 16, 2014: Peer support basics /Trauma-informed Practice

This session will introduce the basic concepts, values and principles of genuine peer support as developed and practiced by the mental health consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement over the past 40+ years. The basics of trauma-informed practices, which can be applied in any setting, will also be discussed.

Presenters: Darby Penney and Leah Harris


September 23, 2014: Applying Trauma-Informed Practices to Peer Support

This session will conclude the series with a discussion of applying trauma-informed practices to peer support through the development of mutual, reciprocal relationships.  The discussion will be illustrated with examples of issues that may arise in trauma-informed peer support, such as understanding self-injury as a coping strategy, and the effective use of personal narrative in healing from trauma.

Presenters: Darby Penney and Michael Skinner

Need details about signing on?  Go to


Organizational Considerations for Successful Implementation of Peer Support Services

July 11 Webinar from MHA

Friday, July 11, 3:00 pm EDT:

In May, 2013, CMS/SAMHSA released a joint informational bulletin that clarified the definition of “Peer” to include adults, families, and youth. As a result of this clarification many organizations are working closely with their states to expand current peer services to include the full spectrum of service possibilities. Currently, 32 states have included Peer Support in their Medicaid State Plan, many through the Rehab Option. Many of these states currently offer only Adult Peer Support services and are in the process of expanding services to be inclusive of family and youth models. Many states that do not currently offer Peer Support as a Medicaid reimbursable service are considering this option but until this becomes a reality, provider organizations must rely upon alternate types of funding.

Please join us as we explore the evolution of this emerging workforce. We will look at the growth of Peer Support since its inception and track through to the present day status of adult, family, and youth Peer Support. Participants will gain a broad understanding of the organizational considerations that are crucial to the successful implementation of these three, unique models of Peer Support.

Presenters: Lynda Gargan, Ph.D., Senior Managing Director, National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health; Patrick Hendry, Senior Director of Consumer Advocacy, Mental Health America; Lacey Kendrick Burk, Executive Director, Youth Move National.

Instructions for joining the July 11 webinar:

1. Go to –

(Please either right click on the link or copy and paste the link into a new tab.)

When the Adobe Connect Log-in screen appears, select “Enter as a Guest,” enter the name and state of the participant in the “Name” field (Ex. Jane Doe-AK) and click on “Enter Room.”

2. Once prompted to join the Audio portion of the meeting, please select:
“Dialing-in to the Audio Conference Via Phone.” Then dial 1-888-727-2247 and enter the conference ID number 5433540#.

Dialing in allows for interaction and dialogue.  Please ensure that your computer speakers are turned down so that there is no audio feedback.



We are pleased to announce that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has approved funding for Alternatives 2014! We are continuing to move ahead with planning the conference, and we urge everyone to submit workshop and institute proposals (byJuly 7), to register, and to book your rooms!

Below is an announcement about the conference. We hope that those of you who have newsletters or e-lists will share this information widely! Thank you!

28th Annual Alternatives Conference to Be Held in Orlando!
Register Now! Early Bird Registration Until August 8!
Submit Proposals to Present Workshops and/or Institutes!
Proposal Deadline Extended to July 7!

Alternatives 2014, the 28th annual national conference organized by and for individuals with psychiatric histories, will be held at the beautiful Caribe Royale Hotel in Orlando, Florida, October 22-26, 2014. The deadline for Early Bird registration ($375) is August 8; to register, click here!The extended deadline to submit a presentation proposal is July 7; to submit a proposal click here! To book a room at the hotel, click here!The theme of the conference, organized by the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse and funded in part by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is Creating the Future: Change, Challenge, Opportunity. Each Alternatives conference offers in-depth technical assistance on peer-delivered services and self-help/recovery methods. Beyond the exchange of knowledge and networking, Alternatives offers a rich social, supportive, and healing environment. When asked “one thing I learned that I will incorporate into my life and/or my work,” one earlier Alternatives attendee responded, “We can influence the direction of the future.” For more information, visit the Alternatives 2014 website at Note: We do not yet know if scholarships will be offered; we will e-blast that information when it becomes available, and post it on the Alternatives Conference Announcements Facebook page, available at this link. However, even if scholarships are offered, they are usually limited in number. For information about alternative sources of funding, click here. To read more about the conference, click here.



NOVEMBER 12-14, 2014    The Village Inn  in Clemmons, NC (next to Winston-Salem)

Call for proposals from interested presenters.  Please go to: or call Lisa Maurer at 336-713-7715.

See article below for a review of last year’s exciting conference!  We need to come together and build on our collective momentum to help people reclaim life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!

November’s Recovery Conference a Real Meeting of Minds and Hearts!
This year, the numbers and the mix of attendees at the fifth annual “One Community In Recovery”conference in Durham hit a tipping point that changed the dynamics from academic to transformational!  Yes, people have described the experience as personal, dynamic, exciting, and more akin to a large but instructional fellowship compared to conferences in the past.  Some have said the’d never experienced such an event like this before!  This year’s conference was titled Creating a Culture of Recovery, a validation of the deep and shared changes necessary in our thinking in order to achieve a system that promotes individual recovery by those who have mental health challenges or substance use disorders.  So why was this year’s conference so successful?

Was it the keynote speakers we had?  We opened the conference with Paulo Del Vecchio, the first person with lived experience with mental illness who has been promoted to the top of a major federal agency (Del Vecchio is the director of the Center for Mental Health Services, which is part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).   Paulo has watched the labored processes of advocates in North Carolina for years and challenged our state while also celebrating recent movement toward a recovery focus.

Additionally, we had Dr. Judith Cook, a researcher from the University of Illinois at Chicago who has focused years of effort on consumer-informed topics such as self-determination, the role of employment in recovery, and her recent focus–the financial freedom as a strong contributor to long term recovery.   This topic was very well timed for our new services which can put individual focus on this issue with clients through peer support staff and clinicians.  There was so much interest from all perspectives of participants.
Was it the breakout sessions?   There were four different topics in each of five break-out sessions.  This means there were TWENTY TOPICS almost all by North Carolinians . There were topics on models of care, on measuring personal quality outcomes, new approaches to supporting family that promotes them best supporting a member impacted by extreme experiences.  There were updates on the growth of the peer movement, intergroup recovery dialogues, and a timely and provocative presentation on rights protection as an imperative for recovery.  I could go on.
I think it was the people!  It was a shared passion for recovery and its potential that brought us all a little out of our more passive moods–we got noisy together, laughed together, were more casual yet more focused on the good stuff!  And as many remarked, it didn’t matter whether we were a ‘consumer’ or a provider or a peer specialist or a family member or an agency staff or MCO staff–we were on an equal plane for a couple of days, sharing ideas, telling our stories, and just finding familiarity with a new way of doing things to feel good!  It leaves us looking forward to next year with enthusiasm.
Finally, it was exciting to have the interest of NC Health News, who has already posted coverage of the conference and found this new, exciting, and valuable health care information.
And the ‘recovery coalition’ that has met since last spring announced its new name and the fact that there is already a Facebook page and a web page to come:  North Carolinians for Recovery Oriented Care, AKA  NC ROCS!   You’ll be hearing more about this!

Free Webinar 

Peer Specialists Promoting Community Reintegration of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities Returning Home from Jail or Prison

August 8, 2013 / 2:00 – 3:30 PM ET

The Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities, in cooperation with the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, invites your participation in a webinar on August 8, 2013.

It is the fifth event in our popular webinar series on the varied roles peer specialists can play in promoting greater participation in the everyday community life of the individuals they serve. August’s presentation will focus on the role peer specialists can play in assisting individuals with mental health conditions who are involved with the criminal justice system.

This series is jointly funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and is designed to provide a national platform for the discussion of roles that peer specialists and peer-run programs can play in offering the supports and services that individuals may need to participate more fully in the day-to-day lives of their communities.

The webinar will begin with an introduction by Richard Baron, Director of Knowledge Translation for the Temple University Collaborative. The featured speakers include:

  • LaVerne Miller/Policy Research Associates
  • Laurie Schultz/Peerstar, LLC
  • James Kimmel/Peerstar, LLC

We will then turn to a broader discussion among the participants on the call. August’s webinar invites participation of webinar attendees, asking each of you to share your experiences, comments, or questions concerning individuals with mental health conditions who also have had criminal justice involvement. Contact Richard Baron to participate:

To register for the seminar, go to:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about attending the webinar. I hope you can join us!



Building Community Resiliency and Healing:
Preparing for, Responding to, and Recovering from
Community Trauma and Disasters

Register Today!

Registration will remain open through July 23rd,
the day of the event.
Please share with others
who may be interested.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
11 a.m.–12:45 p.m. ET
(10 a.m. CT; 8 a.m. PT)


Margaret Upchurch, CPRSP, is a survivor of Superstorm Sandy and a Certified Peer Recovery Support Practitioner (CPRSP) and Certified Wellness Coach for older adults at the Mental Health Association of New Jersey where she volunteers at the Journey to Wellness Center.

Marcie Roth, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Director of Disability Integration and Coordination, leads the Agency’s commitment to meet the access and functional needs of children and adults with disabilities in emergency and disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation.

Daniel Fisher, M.D., Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director of the National Empowerment Center, helped peers in Louisiana respond to the emotional crises following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and, based on his post-Katrina experiences, helped develop Emotional CPR (eCPR).

Willie Barney, Founder, President, and Facilitator of the Empowerment Network, is leading efforts in Omaha, NE to address gun violence as a public health problem through immediate response activities, ongoing recovery, survivor empowerment, and their recent adoption of eCPR.

Teleconference Overview:
When a community experiences a disaster or other traumatic event—whether it is a hurricane, flash flood, school shooting, widespread community violence, or terrorist event—no one is left untouched. Typically, people initially respond to these kinds of traumatic events with confusion and disbelief, followed by stress, grief, fear, anxiety, or anger. Some survivors experience more severe reactions, and, if left unresolved, these may begin to interfere with daily functioning and may develop into more ongoing problems. Fortunately, most survivors demonstrate natural resilience. Many factors seem to influence resilience and help in the healing and recovery process. Key among these are a personal wellness attitude, flexible coping skills, strong support systems, and an effective and caring emergency response.

Building community resilience and healing requires us to look through a culturally attuned lens at the needs of all community members, including those with mental health problems and other disabilities whose needs too often are overlooked in planning for, responding to, and recovering from disasters or traumatic events. While people with lived experience of mental health, addictions, and trauma can be vulnerable to experiencing a downward spiral following a disaster or other traumatic event, they also can use their lived experiences and personal recovery as a source of understanding and strength that enables them to contribute meaningfully to community resilience and rebuilding efforts. By actively engaging people with the lived experience of mental health and/or addictions recovery in providing peer support following a disaster, a community not only provides much-needed relief to those who experienced the trauma, but also provides the peer helper opportunities for healing and recovery. Training peers to support each other can empower the entire community to be active agents in the planning, response, and recovery process.  Communities and governments that work together to involve all community members in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery can lay a stronger foundation for hope and healing following traumatic events.

During this webinar, you will hear four speakers describe how communities can work together before, during, and after disasters or other traumatic events to build resilience and encourage personal and community healing. You’ll hear the inspiring story of one survivor whose home was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy and how she, despite her own personal challenges, worked tirelessly assisting fellow displaced community members in getting back on their feet. You’ll learn about Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) initiatives that help those with mental health problems and other disabilities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters, including how FEMA continues to support peers in New Jersey in helping others recover. You’ll learn about the valuable leadership role peers played in post–Hurricane Katrina community healing efforts and about the development of Emotional CPR (eCPR), a simple yet powerful community-building tool that teaches people how to support each other through emotional crisis. And you’ll hear how the community leaders of Omaha, NE, are addressing gun violence as a public health problem through immediate response activities, ongoing recovery, survivor empowerment, and their recent adoption of eCPR, which is being used to strengthen the community’s ability to respond to traumatic events.

We invite you to join us as these inspiring and committed leaders share their promising practices and stories of engagement, empowerment, and healing.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Learn about promising practices that engage the whole community, including mental health consumers/survivors and those with disabilities, in disaster preparedness and response activities.
  • Learn about the valuable role peers can play in building community resilience and promoting healing after a disaster.
  • Learn how FEMA is helping individuals and communities address mental health needs and other disabilities before, during, and after disasters.
  • Learn how eCPR can be used for emotional support and community building following disasters and individual or community crises.
  • Learn how one community is successfully addressing and reducing widespread violence through collaborative community-building efforts.



Coming in AUGUST!   Important Peer Employment Training:


WHEN:  August 6-10, 2013 (Tuesday-Saturday)                                                                                                                                                    WHERE:  Holland House Drop-In Center    475 West Main Street, Forest City                                                                                            TIME:  8:30 a.m.—5:00 p.m. (1/2 hour lunch)

This is a 40 hour course utilizing a North Carolina MH/DD/SAS approved curriculum developed by the National Association of Peer Specialists.  Completion of this course makes you eligible for North Carolina certification, but does not guarantee employment.   You will learn about:

Recovery Principles          –           What is a Peer Specialist?          –             History of Mental Illness and Treatment          –          Substance Use and Addiction          –          Dual Diagnosis          –          Communication          –          Conflict Resolution          –          Cultural Competency          –        Career Development           –          Ethics and Boundaries

For application form and further information, please call (828) 980-2907

INSTRUCTOR:  Rosemary Weaver, CPSS



MEETING DATE/TIME:  1st and 3rd Mondays  ♦  5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

This support group meeting was established in 2009 by peer specialists who realized the need for mutual support and a place where they could share their concerns and frustrations about employment issues in a safe and confidential environment.  Peers also share information about available jobs and training.  If you are a Certified Peer Specialist and/or working as a Peer Specialist, this is the place for you.  This group is completely independent and not affiliated with any provider or other organization.

LOCATION:  Disability Partners

108 New Leicester Hwy.

Asheville, NC  28806

Office Phone:  (828) 298-1977

Cell Phone:  (828) 447-0812

DIRECTIONS:  From I-240 take exit #3A onto Patton Avenue.  Go approximately 2 miles (you will pass Wells Fargo and Rush Fitness Center) and turn right at Ingles onto New Leicester Hwy.  We are ½ mile on the left in a one story brick building directly across from the Hot Spot gas station.



Hello all,

I’m pleased to announce the debut of our monthly NC-PSS Support Group! Please forward this information and/or distribute the attached flyer to anyone who might be interested. Our first meeting will be on Wednesday, July 17, 3-5 pm at the Mental Health Association in Greensboro. Come and join us for refreshments, introductions, and our inaugural discussion.


Third Wednesday of every month, 3-5 pm

(July 17, Aug 21, Sept 18, Oct 16, Nov 20, Dec 18)


Mental Health Association in Greensboro

330 S. Greene St, Suite B12

Greensboro NC 27401


Educational presentation and open forum on topics such as boundaries, compassion fatigue, and job hunting. Great opportunity for networking, asking questions, and sharing experiences.

FREE and open to anyone trained as a peer support specialist. Registration requested. For more information or to register, contact Mary Seymour (see info below).

Mary Seymour, LPCA, NCC, CPSS ,  Director of Recovery Initiatives

Mental Health Association in Greensboro

330 S. Greene Street, Suite B12        Greensboro, NC  27401

(336) 373-1402

(336) 273-4474 Fax


Regular Meeting Between Advocates with Lived Experience and DHHS Leadership Scheduled!

The meeting with leadership in Raleigh is held on the Dix Campus, but many participate by telephone, as well.  This month the meeting is set for July 31 at 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.

If you wish to participate in developing the agenda and this event, please email Laurie Coker so she can add you to the list.   (

Read below to learn more about these meetings.

January will mark the third year that there will be regular dialogues between consumer advocates and staff of Department of Health and Human Services/Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services (see article in NEWS).  Advocates participate in person or by telephone conference call.    Please contact us ( NCCansoInfo@gmail ) if you want to participate in these great opportunities to contribute to  a better public mental health system and to develop your own leadership skills.  Our state needs more leaders who understand living with and recovering from addiction and/or mental illness!   



DOES YOUR PROVIDER KNOW ABOUT THE RECOVERY TO PRACTICE PROGRAM?   Do you?  The RTP program was developed for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for sake of helping our states aim for recovery or person-defined growth through the services that consumers receive.  This means a change in orientation, and it means that consumers, providers, and administrators need to learn more current service approaches.   Learn about the program through its web site:



President’s Administration Starting Open Monthly Conference Calls re: Disability Issues in December

The White House will be sponsoring monthly telephone calls to update interested people about disability issues and to introduce them to leaders in the Whitehouse that focus on disability issues.  The first call WAS Friday, Dec. 3 at 11:00.  Will report date of next call as possible.

Dial in: (800) 230-1092
Title: Disability Call (use instead of code)






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