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Volume 2 Issue 2                                                                                                  May 2010
What is Peer Connections?
Peer Connections is a monthly e-newsletter designed to connect persons in recovery with public and private mental health providers, government agencies and policy makers to assist them in creating a peer workforce to transform the mental health service delivery system. This e-newsletter highlights many issues of interest to the mental health community, including training and certification options, models of peer delivered services, the expanding role of peers in all phases of mental health and research on peer models. In addition, this e-newsletter fosters an open discussion of issues facing employers and highlights the best practices necessary for cultural change.  Peer Connections is produced by the Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ) and Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey (CSPNJ), each nationally recognized for their peer delivered services, training and advocacy. Read More.
Consumer Provider Association ANNUAL MEETING MAY 22nd! REGISTER TODAY
Join your fellow New Jersey peer specialists and consumer providers at the 10th annual meeting of the Consumer Provider Association in NJ at Rutgers University on Saturday, May 22, 2010. The keynote will be presented by Gladys Christian, President of the National Association of Peer Specialists. For a full agenda and how to register, click HERE!
Peers Making a Major Impact in Atlantic County Jails
Peers working with the Peer Support Outreach Team, of the Mental Health Association in Atlantic County New Jersey, have partnered with the County Justice Facility to offer a range of services to inmates during their incarceration. Peer helpers visit the facility weekly to run groups such as Anger Management, Parenting and Double Trouble geared toward inmates struggling with issues of dual recovery. Read about the impact they are having in our jails.

CPANJ Corner

Read the latest news from the Consumer Provider Association in New Jersey
Pillars of Peer Support: Transforming Transformation TreeMental Health Systems of Care Through Peer Support
At a conference sponsored by SAMHSA, CMHS and NASMHPD, as well as a variety of national mental health advocacy groups, focused on the important role peer support and peer delivered services is having on transforming of our mental health system across the nation. Held at the Carter Center in Georgia, all fifty states were represented to share successes and challenges in the development and maintenance of peer delivered services. It provided an opportunity for broad discussions on the use of Medicaid funding for peer services, certification for peer providers and networks of support for peers in the workforce. The report discusses the status of peer support across the nation. Read the full report.
In NJ People in Recovery Leading and Innovating
To truly transform the mental health system towards a recovery orientation, we need to assure that people in recovery have opportunities to assume roles as leaders and innovators. Over time, people in recovery are no longer only being invited as 'tokens' to decision making tables. More and more, they are assuming leadership roles. Their strengths and capabilities are recognized and they are working in many varied facets of the system impacting transformation, through research, policy and service delivery. In the next few editions, we will feature how people in recovery have seized opportunities,  gained skills and knowledge to make a difference. Please read the stories of two extraordinary people impacting the lives of others in exciting and important ways. Read Susanne Mills' story. Read Karen Burke's story. 
meetingWork and Wellness Forums Growing Statewide
On March 26, 2010, Consumer Connections held their first Regional Meeting of all the Work and Wellness Forums in New Jersey. Thirty peer participants were in attendance. The meeting reviewed the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) and a discussion focused on tools used in the WRAP tool box and Daily Maintenance Activities (DMR) which support wellness at work. Support and Action Plans assist people in addressing early warning signs and work-related triggers. Meetings are currently held in five locations across the state, with more planned for later in the year. Read more about Work and Wellness Forums.
The impact of Peer to Peer Support is a critical element for many peers to survive in the mental health field. Yvonne Smith, a PACT team member with Catholic Charities in Newark, describes her job and the importance of the support of her peers and work and wellness forums, in maintaining her own recovery and employment. Read Yvonne's story. 

CHOICES: Peer Interventions Impacts on Consumer Tobacco Use
CHOICES : Consumers Helping Others Improve their Condition by Ending Smoking was conceived as a partnership between UMDNJ of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the Mental Health Association in New Jersey and the New Jersey Division of Mental Health Services. The program employs peer counselors, called Consumer Tobacco Advocates (CTA) who provide peer support and education about tobacco through community outreach activities. In operation since 2005, the program had demonstrated significant success in reducing smoking, with 25% trying to quit tobacco use. In an article in Community Mental Health Journal, April 2010, the impact of peer services in educating and engaging consumers is documented as an effective peer delivered service.Read the full article.

CSPNJ Supported Employment Services: Peer Deliveredpeer support
Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey has created a supported employment service for its residential services. This initiative is funded through the Johnson & Johnson Dartmouth Community Mental Health Program, and is designed to offer consumers a full range of services to support their decision to enter the workforce. Consumers can begin working with the agency's Peer Employment Support Groups to explore their individual readiness for employment services. The supervisor for the project is Latania Cobb and she describes her role in the program. Read more
Peer Resources
Individual Peer Support Newsletter

Mental Health Consumer Provider: A Guide for Clinical Staff

Read and submit your Recovery Stories

Peer Connections is produced by the MHANJ and CSPNJ.
It is edited by Robert Kley, MHANJ and Peggy Swarbrick, CSPNJ.
Graphic Design by Renee Burawski and Lauren De Poto, MHANJ.

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