The growing number of peer specialists working effectively in mental health systems around the country has led to a rapid expansion of the roles and responsibilities of this new element in the mental health workforce. In August, the Temple Collaborative and its consumer consultants collaborated with the International Association of Peer Supporters National Conference here in Philadelphia to offer a pre-conference workshop – available both in- person and on-line – that explored three emerging roles for peer specialists: promoting connections to religious congregations, encouraging service recipients to return to competitive employment, and preparing peers for jobs in the crisis intervention field.
After an introduction from the Collaborative’s Richard Baron that outlined the importance of these three aspects of community life to individuals with mental illness, the workshop/webinar participants heard from: Christa Andrade, who spoke about the roles that peer specialists can play in helping those who are interested in religious or spiritual connections to participate in the congregations of their choice (Developing Welcoming Faith Communities); Jim Klasen, who brought participants up-to-date on the ‘advanced peer specialist’ 2-day program that offers peers the skills needed to assist those they serve to return to competitive employment (please email Jim directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information); and David Measel, who spoke about his work with the Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition to develop a comprehensive three-day training program for peers who want jobs in crisis intervention systems (e.g., hot-lines, crisis residential settings, or mobile crisis teams (Voices: Perspectives of Peer Specialists Working in Crisis Intervention Services). A recording of the INAPS pre-conference workshop on the expanding roles of peer specialists in its entirety can be found here.
In another contribution to the iNAPS conference, Dr. Mark Salzer and Dr. Liz Thomas represented the Collaborative during a workshop that they gave at the INAPS annual conference, held in Philadelphia last month. Mark presented on the current state of the peer support research literature, and Liz facilitated a discussion about audience members’ perceptions of the most important research questions for the field. Attendees were highly engaged, generating a list of about 30 questions with topics ranging from the effectiveness of different types of peer support and the contexts that facilitate effectiveness to characteristics of the researchers and how the research is currently being used. A Center product with a list of these questions is forthcoming.
Disability Services Offices around the country frequently are looking for new ideas and approaches to supporting students, especially students with psychiatric disabilities. The Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion (www.tucollaborative.org) is a national leader in this area and is available to provide training and technical assistance. The Center also is engaged in cutting edge research involving college students with psychiatric disabilities.
In this FREE one-hour webinar, Drs. Mark Salzer and Amber O’Shea from the Temple University collaborative will:
1.Provide an overview of the experiences of college students with significant mental health issues
2.Discuss supports that these students find to be most helpful
3.Review factors that promote students’ use of disability support services
4.Describe barriers to students’ use of disability support services
To register for the webinar click here
In Spring 2016, The Temple Collaborative spent a week in Australia bringing one of that nation’s major community mental health providers – Wellways – up-to-date on the emerging research findings and best practices models to promote community inclusion for individuals with mental health conditions. To inform its ongoing initiative to transform services in Melbourne, Tasmania, and Canberra into a ‘next generation’ provider and advocacy organization, Wellways funded the Collaborative to develop agency-specific products and trainings. These trainings and products offered a current look at the fundamental principles of community inclusion and implementation strategies that help make engagement in community life a reality for those living with mental health conditions.
The Temple Collaborative’s Director, Mark Salzer, and Knowledge Translation Director, Richard Baron, prepared a 120 page overview of: a) the definitions of community inclusion and documented justifications for making community inclusion a priority service development focus; b) the theoretical justifications for promoting community inclusion for individuals with disabilities; c) eleven core principles of community inclusion policies, programs, and practices and their research origins; and d) and a multi-sided view of community inclusion from consumer and family, clinical and rehabilitation, and community perspectives.
Dr. Salzer and Mr. Baron then joined Wellways consumers, executives, staff, board, and community members for a week in May 2016, for a series of public discussions and plenary presentations, and small change-oriented training programs in Melbourne, Tasmania, and the national capitol of Canberra. Wellway’s response was enthusiastic – at both executive and direct service levels – and planning initiatives are now underway both to broaden the commitment of the agency to community inclusion outcomes and to engage and support individuals and organizations that can help to establish ‘welcoming communities’ throughout the region.
We have two new documents that focus on assisting behavioral managed care companies and their county/state partners in mental health service delivery to promote community inclusion policies, programs, and practices for individuals with mental health conditions.
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