RECOVERY WORKS: National Activists & Organizations Call for Action

Excerpt from

Recovery Works (c) 2015, All Rights Reserved

“Recovery is a process, a way of life, an attitude, and a way of approaching the day’s challenges. It is not a perfectly linear process. At times our course is erratic and we falter, slide back, regroup and start again… The need is to meet the challenge of the disability and to re-establish a new and valued sense of integrity and purpose within and beyond the limits of the disability; the aspiration is to live, work and love in a community in which one makes a significant contribution.”

— Pat Deegan, PhD, person in recovery from serious mental illness

While the term “recovery” was originally applied to substance use conditions, in recent decades, there has been growing recognition that it also applies to mental health. People diagnosed with all mental health conditions, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, can and do recover in the community – given the right mix of easily accessible supports and services.

The Substance and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to achieve their full potential.”

Recovery Works

Promoting Recovery Outcomes

We need to invest in recovery, which means investing in people and holding providers and systems accountable for increasing recovery outcomes, which include:

  • Permanent supportive housing
  • Employment and educational opportunities
  • Access to social support in the community
  • A sense of meaning and purpose in life
  • A sense of empowerment, or control over one’s life and treatment decisions



Advocates Launch Campaign to Advance Recovery-Focused Mental Health Care

a call to action

Campaign Unveiled as Congress Considers Major Mental Health Reforms

CONTACT: David Lerner, Riptide Communications, 917-612-5657

(Washington, DC) – As House and Senate Democrats and Republicans focus on comprehensive mental health reform, and a recent poll by the Kennedy Center for Mental Health Policy and Research indicated that 71% of Americans are calling for “significant “ or “radical” changes in the way that mental illnesses and addiction are treated, leading mental health experts and advocacy groups have announced the formation of the Recovery Now! Campaign. The campaign has been created to address the crisis in our mental health service system and the personal crises faced daily by individuals and families in great distress.

“Mental health policy reform is rightly a top priority for Congress and the country,” said Bob Bernstein, executive director of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. “We want to ensure that any reform advances the science of what we know works: accessible, recovery-oriented, community-based treatments and supports.”

The campaign promotes the hope and promise that people can and do recover from even the most serious mental health conditions when they are provided a full array of both treatment and recovery supports.  “The data is clear: approaches that promote stable housing, employment, crisis respite and empathetic connections to others are as critically important as medical services to help individuals move from crisis to recovery,” said Harvey Rosenthal, executive director of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services.

“Recovery is real. I’m living proof, and so are thousands of others. Now is the time for major change, so that all Americans living with mental health and substance use conditions have a decent chance at recovery. Together we can shift our current climate of fear and despair to one of hopefulness and possibility,” said Leah Harris, Recovery Now! campaign coordinator and director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery.

Added Phyllis Vine, a family activist and author of the book Families in Pain, “All families should advocate for recovery-oriented mental health reform, including peer and family support, which give our loved ones the opportunity to live, work, and thrive in their communities.”

Recovery Now! brings a needed focus on recovery into the national conversation about the mental health care. The campaign will identify and promote proven approaches to end cycles of preventable relapses, hospitalizations, incarceration, and homelessness; advance concrete strategies to prevent and address mental health crisis; and will advocate for greater availability of comprehensive community-based services that promote wellness and recovery through the integration of mental health, addiction and medical care.

Organizations supporting the campaign include the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law,  Mental Health America, the National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors, the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, and the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services.

Spokespersons are available for public comment on mental health reform.

straighten up and fly right

James Ruckle Analysis on US National Certification of Peer Services | Supports and Standardization

Last June 2014, Pamela Hardin and I co-authored a White Paper on US Peer Leadership and Workforce with Dr. Ron Manderscheid (Hardin & Padron, Ed. Manderscheid, 2014) editing and there is very good research, study and analysis being written on US peer supports | services around a national credential, standardization for the Certified Peer Specialist, Recovery Coach and Community Health Worker Promotora.

James Ruckle’s analysis on US national certification and credentialing is interesting to note.  I’m including the link to the entire paper for your review here:

Steve Harrington, Executive Director, of the International Association of Peer Specialists is pre-eminent in global peer services certification, standardization, development and growing. Others colleagues at work in this field at an inherent level of growing US peer leadership and a national peer workforce include Harvey Rosenthal, Executive Director, New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS), Patrick Hendry, National Consumer Liaison, Mental Health America (MHA) National and Susan Bergeson with Peter Ashenden, both of OptumHealth are doing work in supporting peer services | supports in an integrated health environment which is key and instrumental.

The ACMHA College for Behavioral Health Leadership Peer Leadership Interest Group (PLIG) has been instrumental in think-tanking, researching the state of the state of US Peer Leadership and a National Workforce for peer services | supports in behavioral health integration from the 2014 Summit in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The PLIG has released a National ToolKit for consumer operated service providers (COSP’s) and providers use.

I invite your work here which is supportive of US peer leadership, a workforce development, national credentialing and standardization.  Email me at to share here.


NYAPRS Note: Our ACMHA Peer Leaders Interest Group is very pleased to share this Peer Services Toolkit which is the result of numerous discussions amongst our members and research by primary author Patrick Hendry that were funded by a grant from Optum.

It’s our hope both peer service leaders, states and new payers alike will use these materials to advance the presence of integrity-level peer support across the nation The Toolkit will be the subject of an upcoming ACMHA webinar and also a presentation at the March 24-5 Annual Summit in St. Louis (

brave work

January 19, 2015

Peer-run services that promote wellness and recovery from mental health and addiction-related conditions have emerged as an essential key element in new designs aimed at improving health care outcomes and qualities. Accordingly, ACMHA: The College for Behavioral Health Leadership is proud to announce the release of a comprehensive toolkit for increasing the role of peer support in behavioral health. The Peer Services Toolkit: A Guide to Advancing and Implementing Peer-run Behavioral Health Services looks at the nature of peer support, its origins, essential elements, core values, training and certification, outcomes, providing services within peer-run and traditional agencies, state-level advocacy for peer support services, working with managed care companies, and much more.

Thanks to a grant from Optum, more than 25 peer-run service leaders participated in a daylong special seminar at the 2014 ACMHA Summit that was designed and convened by members of the ACMHA Peer Leaders Interest Group (PLIG). The toolkit is based on those discussions and the efforts that followed.

This easily accessible document will aid providers and funders in understanding the unique benefits of peer support and assist them in contracting for these services. It also offers peer-run organizations valuable insight into the essential preparations needed to contract with managed care and other funders. The toolkit provides an in-depth look at the certification process and its importance in expanding peer services throughout the public behavioral health system and into private practice.

The toolkit includes a comprehensive list of reference materials and links to related documents. A living document, the toolkit will continue to be enhanced over the years. The peer workforce is on the edge of tremendous growth as peers learn new ways to provide their unique and powerful support to people moving into and maintaining recovery.

Please feel free to share/distribute this information. More information about the College and its work is available at

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