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December 1, 2011 Volume 2, Issue 43
Please share the Recovery to Practice (RTP) Weekly Highlights with your
colleagues, clients, friends, and family!

To access RTP's Weekly Highlights, quarterly e-newsletters, Webinar recordings,
and PowerPoint presentations,
please visit http://www.dsgonline.com/rtp/resources.html.
The RTP quarterly e-newsletters keep you posted on our efforts to bring recovery into everyday clinical practice. A variety of personal stories and columns reflect how we are promoting the vision, values, and principles of recovery for behavioral health practitioners and consumers. To view previous issues, please visit http://www2.dsgonline.com/rtp/resources.html. If you would like to contribute to the e-newsletter, please email recoverytopractice@dsgonline.com.

Recovery Is Real
by Tom Kelly
Growing up, I enjoyed many of the same advantages as others. From a very young age—thanks to my mother and father—I had everything necessary for a decent life. I always had a roof over my head, food on the table, and someone to take care of my needs. But when I was about 5 years old, I began showing signs of mental illness.

In kindergarten I had trouble communicating with others—partly because of my language development skills and partly because I was somewhat introverted. I remember encountering certain things that others didn't seem to experience. In my early years I had auditory and visual hallucinations, but even with the hallucinations I was able to move from one grade to the next with little difficulty. I was by no means an "A" student, but an average "C" student. The grades I received on some assignments made my peers look like geniuses.

I experienced early teen life the way many teenagers do. But something happened in high school. I started to develop symptoms of mania and depression. Sometimes I didn't want to be around anyone. Other times I just wanted to go, go, go!

The next few years were rough. I barely graduated from high school. It actually took me an extra year to complete the classes I failed as a senior.

Although it took 5 years to complete 3 1/2 years of coursework, I managed to graduate from college with a double major in Photogrammetry and Land Surveying.

Things began to fall apart in the early 90s—what I call the "worst time of my life." I was homeless for about 3 years and spent another 3 years in different levels of locked psychiatric facilities.

The worst part was not understanding I had a treatable illness! I didn't know that what I was going through might be depression or bipolar disease. I really couldn't connect with people in the outside world and had no idea others were experiencing the same symptoms. I felt all alone. Over the years, I attempted suicide a few times because I just wanted the pain to end. I wanted to escape a world that had no hope.

In the late 90s I was introduced to Arizona's public mental health system. After spending a few weeks in a Phoenix hospital, I was contacted by the managed care company that would ultimately give me the tools to move forward in my recovery. They provided case management, medications, help with housing and employment, and a counselor who guided me in the right direction. I was introduced to the advocacy community, where I learned my voice could be heard. I was also introduced to peer support and self-help groups. For the first time in my life, I didn't feel all alone.

My journey included assistance from Section 8 housing, Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid. After my basic needs were met, I could truly focus on recovery. I was able to build self-esteem with the encouragement of self-help groups and peer support. I felt more empowered as my voice was heard. I started to take responsibility for my recovery.

I know recovery is possible for everyone because I am on the road to achieving it. This is my journey to developing a life worth living in a community of my choice and getting the help I need to achieve my full potential. My friends, advocates, and colleagues have helped make this journey possible. I have come a long way and yet I have a long way to go.

Today I am the Recovery and Resiliency Advisor for Cenpatico of Arizona. Each day I have the privilege of helping people understand what it's like to walk in the shoes of someone with a mental illness. I have the honor of working with fantastic individuals who have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of my brothers and sisters—those who may find themselves locked up, homeless, or just broke, down, and out.

Tom Kelly is the Recovery and Resiliency Advisor at Cenpatico of Arizona. Contact him at tkelly@cenpatico.com.

Funding Innovative Projects for Better Medical Care
Up to $1 billion will be awarded to support innovative projects that test new ideas and systems for improving health care delivery and lowering costs for Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Program beneficiaries. Funded by the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services' Health Care Innovation Challenge will give priority to projects that rapidly hire, train, and deploy health care workers.

All proposals should include the following elements:
  • Workforce development and deployment: Proposed models should include the development and/or deployment of health care workers in new ways. The review process will favor innovative proposals that demonstrate an ability to create the workforce of the future.
  • Speed to implementation: Proposed models must be operational or capable of rapid expansion within 6 months.
  • Model sustainability: All proposals are expected to define a clear pathway for sustainability and should consider scalability and diffusion of the proposed model.
Additionally, proposals should focus on high-cost or high-risk groups, including populations with multiple chronic diseases and/or mental health or substance abuse issues, those with compromised health due to socioeconomic and environmental factors, or elderly individuals in poor health.

Awards are expected to range from $1 million to $30 million over a 3-year period. Applications are open to providers, payers, local Government, community-based organizations, and public–private partnerships and multi-payer approaches. Each grantee project will be evaluated and monitored for measurable improvements in quality of care and generated savings.

Important deadlines
  • Letter of Intent: December 19, 2011
  • Applications: January 27, 2012
  • Anticipated Award Date: March 30, 2012
For more information, including a fact sheet and the funding opportunity announcement, please see the Health Care Innovation Challenge initiative Web site at www.innovation.cms.gov.

WRAP® for Kids Webinar
The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®) for Kids is based on a system developed by Mary Ellen Copeland and a group of people who have faced mental health challenges. WRAP® is a tool that encourages people to discover or rediscover their skills and strengths while staying as well as possible on a daily basis.

December 19, 2011

2–3:30 p.m. EST

According to parents and health care providers, developing and following a WRAP® could set the stage for kids to lead happy and healthy lives. Mary Ellen Copeland recognized the need for children to have such a structured plan and with the help of a few young collaborators she designed a workbook for kids to develop their own WRAPs®.

While the WRAP® must be developed by the child who will use it, trusted adults can provide valuable support. The concept of WRAP® for Kids is similar to the plan for adults, but with kid-friendly language and no crisis/postcrisis plan.

The Webinar discussion will cover
  • How children with mental health, physical, and developmental challenges can begin to incorporate hope, personal responsibility, education, self-advocacy, and support into their lives.
  • Guidelines for supportive adults introducing WRAP® to children.
  • The seven sections involved for children writing their own WRAPs®.
  • How the WRAP® Workbook for Kids complements other health care and educational programs already working for the child.
Click here to register.

Inspirational Stories and Support Empower Veterans
After arriving at a treacherous landing zone in Vietnam, Jack was seriously wounded and some of his Marines lost their lives. He returned home, turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with the grief. But when a friend connected him with Veterans Affairs, Jack turned his life around. Today he is a successful entrepreneur, mentor, and advocate who provides much-needed support to fellow veterans.

Veterans share a common bond of honor, duty, and service. Regardless of when or where they serve, they may struggle with issues that affect their relationships, work, and overall well-being. To hear Jack's story and learn more about the resources available for veterans, visit www.MaketheConnection.net.

The RTP Resource Center Wants to Hear From
Recovery-Oriented Practitioners!
We invite practitioners to submit personal stories that describe how they became involved in recovery-
oriented work and how it has changed the way they practice.
The RTP Resource Center Wants to Hear From You, Too!
We invite you to submit personal stories that describe recovery experiences. To submit stories or other recovery resources, please contact Cheryl Tutt, MSW, at 877.584.8535,
or email recoverytopractice@dsgonline.com.

We welcome your views, comments, suggestions, and inquiries.
For more information on this topic or any other recovery topics,
please contact the RTP Resource Center at
877.584.8535, or email recoverytopractice@dsgonline.com.

The views, opinions, and content of this Weekly Highlight are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect
the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.