Webinar: Peers As Crisis Providers II

A webinar sponsored by SAMHSA and presented by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors will take place Tuesday, August 11, 2015 pm Eastern Time called “Peers as Crisis Service Providers II”.

Description: Research shows that the involvement of peer specialists is critical to prevention, allows states to save mental health program dollars by reducing cycles of hospitalization and other emergency interventions, and increases recovery and community integration outcomes. Peers are currently playing an increasing role in providing crisis services, through running crisis respites, staffing crisis response centers, and participating in mobile crisis and/or outreach teams. This webinar will provide examples of the range of crisis services that peers can provide, the benefits of integrating peer specialists into crisis services, and common pitfalls to avoid. We did this webinar on June 10th and because of the turnout and the feedback, we wanted to present it again.

Intended audience: crisis service providers, state and local administrators, peer support specialists, peer-run organizations, family-run organizations

Here is the registration link for joining the August 11th webinar:

Presenters: Steve Miccio, Jim Hajny, Sue Bergeson, Heather Rae and Paul Lyons

  • Steve Miccio is the Executive Director of PEOPLe, Inc. which is located in Poughkeepsie, NY. They are a peer operated advocacy organization serving people in 7 counties throughout New York. Steve has been instrumental in designing and implementing crisis/hospital diversion services in New York, Nebraska and the Netherlands. Steve is considered an expert in peer operated diversion services and emergency service design. Steve has been working with The Institute for Behavioral Health Improvement to assist in creating alternatives to crisis services for hospitals across the nation. Steve has been a partner in published research around psychiatric emergency service delivery and served as a consultant to develop a book on creating standards of care in emergency psychiatry (2006). Recently, Steve was the principal trainer at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, NY training peers in the emergency department and on the behavioral health units. He also speaks and consults nationally and internationally on developing more effective approaches to crisis diversion with the use of peers.
  • Jim Hajny is the Executive Director of Montana’s Peer Network, a peer run non-profit organization that provides recovery opportunities. Jim has been in recovery from a dual diagnosis for over for 20 years. He believes recovery is not only possible, but it should be a part of the process when someone is given a diagnosis. Montana’s Peer Network has been piloting  peer services in a community based role that focuses on mobile crisis outreach as a means to prevention. This program engages people where they are at (home) not in a crisis setting. This pilot project has been able to widen the lens on how we view mental health crisis in the community and expand the role of peer services.
  • Sue Bergeson is the vice president of consumer and family affairs for OptumHealth, the behavioral health arm of United Health Care, a large managed care company.   Bergeson is responsible for developing behavioral health programs that help people living with mental illness and substance use disorders achieve long-term recovery and resiliency. She has brought peer support as a reimbursable service into Optum including facilitating the creation of Level of care guidelines, reimbursement guidelines, Statement of work, contracting guidelines, and credential guidelines.  She has developed training programs to teach consumer run programs how to contract with managed care organizations to create sustainable funding through delivering peer coaching programs.  She has developed tools to help peer coaches assess and provide the right self-care tools and resources at the right time for the consumer being served. Before joining OptumHealth, Bergeson helped lead the country’s largest consumer-run national organization, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). She is a consumer of mental health services, a family member of mental health consumers.  Her sister died by suicide.
  • Heather Rae, Vice President of Programs and Services, Common Ground. Rae is responsible for the administration and clinical oversight of all of the agency’s programs, which includes psychiatric services, runaway and homeless youth services and crime and victim services. The newest member of Common Ground’s executive team, Rae joined the agency in March, 2011. Prior to joining Common Ground, she was a Service Network manager for Access and Utilization at the Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority.  Her responsibilities included providing clinical leadership to internal and external providers and managing more than 30 million dollars of public contracts.   She also developed and implemented the utilization management structure for the organization and provider network.
  • Paul Lyons is a Common Ground Recovery Coach, Certified as a Peer Support Specialist (CPPS) by the State of Michigan. He first interfaced with the mental health system as a child through multiple hospitalizations. In his younger years he experienced homelessness, family discord, and isolation. His remarkable recovery journey includes an early distrust of the system attempting to help him (police, involuntary commitment interventions, etc.). Later he worked to change the system by advocating for others with mental illness and gained employment as a peer. In addition to his CPSS  certification, he is certified in WRAP, WHAM, PATH, Hearing Voices, Smoking Cessation and Leadership. When he is not working as a Recovery Coach, Paul owns several rental properties and is a successful businessman.

Webinar Series: Peer Support and Innovative Prison Reentry Programs

Part 1: Thursday, August 20, 2015 • 3:00–4:30 p.m., EDT
Part 2: Friday, September 11, 2015 • 3:00–4:30 p.m., EDT



SAMHSA's GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation and the Association of State Correctional Administrators are pleased to announce a two-part webinar series focusing on the successful and innovative use of peers and peer support in state correctional facilities. Attendees will learn about the innovative use of peers and successful collaborations between correctional facilities and peer operated programs in providing a wide array of reentry services. The first webinar will highlight three exemplary programs and the second will focus on how to develop, implement, fund, sustain and expand these programs in state correctional facilities.


Target Audience: 
  • Correctional Staff and Administrators
  • Correctional Clinical and Medical Staff and Administrators
  • Parole and Probation Staff and Administrators
  • Reentry Staff and Administrators
  • Consumer Run Technical Assistance and Training Providers
  • Community Based Behavioral Health Providers
  • Peers Working in Correctional Facilities
  • Federal, State and Local Policy Makers
  • Advocates


Register Now!

Space is limited.

Don’t miss this valuable opportunity!!

Click here to register!


NARPA 2015 Annual Rights Conference

The National Association of Rights Protection and Advocacy
NARPA Washington DC 2015
August 20 – 23, 2015
Embassy Suites Washington DC Convention Center
The conference begins at 6 pm on Thursday, August 20, and ends at noon Sunday, August 23.
NARPA‘s mission is to promote policies and pursue strategies that result in individuals with psychiatric diagnoses making their own choices regarding treatment. We educate and mentor those individuals to enable them to exercise their legal and human rights with a goal of abolition of all forced treatment.
NARPA is an independent organization, solely supported by its members. It is a unique mix of people who have experienced psychiatric intervention, advocates, civil rights activists, mental health workers, and lawyers -- with many people whose roles overlap. NARPA exists to to protect people’s right to choice and to be free from coercion, and to promote alternatives so that the right to choice can be meaningful. Read about NARPA's history of human rights advocacy, check out the ADA Case of the Week archives, and more.



Webinar: Peers in the Workforce

SAMHSA’s Homeless and Housing Resource Network (HHRN) presents:

Peers in the Workforce
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Noon - 1:30 pm Mountain DT

SAMHSA’s Homeless and Housing Resource Network (HHRN) is pleased to announce the upcoming webinar: Peers in the Workforce, the next webinar in the Persons with Lived Experience Webinar Series.

The webinar will provide information on the benefits of hiring peer providers, who are persons with lived experience in recovery from mental illness and/or addiction. These peer providers have skills and training to deliver services to others in need of support during their recovery.

Presenters will discuss the benefits of hiring peer workers including:

  • Personal experience regarding wellness
  • Insight into the experience of internalized stigma and how to combat stigma
  • Compassion and commitment to helping others
  • Experience of moving from hopelessness to hope
  • Relationship of trust
  • Skills in monitoring illness and self-management of a person in recovery

The webinar will also cover the roles of peer workers in the following topics:

  • Staff Readiness and Agency Culture 
  • Billing for Peer-provided Services
  • Setting and Maintaining Boundaries with Clients and Staff
  • Establishing Job Descriptions for Peer Workers
  • Supervising and Supporting Peer Workers
  • Wellness Planning and Self-Care

Registration for the May 21, 2015 webinar is now open!
Please visit the link below to register:


Barbara Goody
Peer Specialist
Jackson Hole Community Counseling Center
Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Lucretia Maes
Peer Specialist
Peak Wellness Center
Cheyenne, Wyoming


Regina Dodson
Wyoming Behavioral Health Division
Recovery Supports Specialist


Regina Dodson has been the Recovery Support Specialist at Wyoming Department of Health, Behavioral Health Division, since May 2008.  Ms. Dodson plays an integral part in the planning, development, management, and monitoring of programs that support recovery-based services for Wyoming residents who live with mental illness or co-occurring disorders.  Ms. Dodson is one of four Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) trainers in Wyoming, a national project funded by SAMHSA that is designed to increase access to SSI and SSDI for eligible adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a mental illness, medical condition, and/or co-occurring substance use disorder. 

Barbara Goody has lived in Jackson since 1973 and has worked at Jackson Hole Community Counseling Center since 2009, first as a volunteer and then as a Peer Support Specialist.  She has lived experience as a consumer with depression and survivor of trauma.  

Lucretia Maes is employed with Peak Wellness Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and is a volunteer recovery coach.  Her role includes linking people experiencing homelessness to resources in the community.


Please join us for an exciting free webinar hosted by the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse in partnership with the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion!

Webinar: Criminal Justice Issues

Learn about the movement to reduce incarceration, including imprisonment of individuals with mental health conditions!

To register, click here.  For more information, please see below.

Date: Thursday, June 25, 2015

Time: 2 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. CT, noon MT, 11 a.m. PT, 8 a.m. in Hawaii (90 minutes)

This webinar – presented by three prominent experts in criminal justice issues – will cover an array of topics, including:
  • the movement for social justice whose goal is to cut the incarceration rate in half by 2030 while reducing crime;
  • how to support individuals with mental health conditions who are incarcerated and how to help them transition successfully into the community;
  • diversion models to prevent or minimize incarceration, including the Nathaniel Project, the first alternative-to-incarceration program in Manhattan Supreme Court for adults with serious mental health conditions convicted of felony offenses, 
The U.S. has the highest prison population rate in the world. The reason for such high incarceration rates is not serious crimes but misguided policies such as mandatory minimums, three-strikes laws and reductions in the availability of parole and other early release mechanisms. The high incarceration rate is significant to individuals with mental health conditions because persons with mental health conditions are disproportionately incarcerated when compared to persons who do not have mental conditions. In fact, more than half of all those incarcerated in prison and jail had a mental health problem according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report issued in 2006 – the most recent BJS information available. Once incarcerated, they are more likely to incur disciplinary infractions, and Human Rights Watch recently reported that individuals with mental health conditions in jails and prisons are routinely physically abused by guards. They are also less likely to be released on bail, and they have longer jail and prison terms. In addition, they are more likely to incur technical probation violations once released. 
The presenters:
  • Dan Abreu, MS CRC LMHC has been a senior project associate at Policy Resource Associates since 2005. A senior technical assistance specialist for SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation, Mr. Abreu provides technical assistance and support to the states that received Jail Diversion and Trauma Recovery – Priority to Veterans grants, as well as the communities that were awarded SAMHSA Adult Treatment Court Collaborative grants. He also serves as a senior technical assistance specialist for PRA’s SAMHSA-funded Service Members, Veterans and their Families (SMVF)Technical Assistance Center. Mr. Abreu is a former associate director of operations at Central New York Psychiatric Center (CNYPC) and oversaw discharge planning activities for individuals with mental health conditions, as well as development and implementation of the Sing Sing Community Orientation and Re-entry Program (CORP). He formerly held positions with CNYPC as regional supervisor and chief of mental health services at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. Previously, Mr. Abreu coordinated jail mental health services in Albany and Rensselaer counties in New York State. 
  • Ann-Marie Louison joined CASES in 1999 and is the co-founder of the Nathaniel Project, the first alternative-to-incarceration program in Manhattan Supreme Court for adults with serious mental health conditions convicted of felony offenses, which received the 2002 Thomas M. Wernert Award for Innovations in Community Behavioral Healthcare. In June 2003, the Project was licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health to provide evidence-based Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) services. Ms. Louison became Director of Mental Health Programs in 2002, overseeing Nathaniel ACTand subsequently launching the EXIT and Transitional Case Management programs. In 2011, CASES merged its Criminal Court and Mental Health programs into a new program group, Adult Behavioral Health, which Ms. Louison currently co-leads. She is also a consultant to the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center. Frequently sought as a national expert on jail diversion, in 2010 she participated on a panel of national experts convened by the National GAINS Center to reflect on conclusions from SAMHSA’s Targeted Capacity Expansion Jail Diversion cross-site evaluation. 
  • Christa Burkett, technical assistance coordinator of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, will facilitate.