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December 29, 2011 Volume 2, Issue 47
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 2011 "Recovery-Oriented Care Continuum" Webinar series featured four steps:

Step 1: Outreach & Engagement
Step 2: Person-Centered Care Planning
Step 3: Promoting Recovery Through Psychological and Social Means
Step 4: Graduation

Click on the links above to download the PowerPoint presentations and recordings.

SAMHSA Announces Working Definition of Recovery
SAMHSA recently announced a new working definition of recovery from mental and substance use disorders. The definition is the product of their year-long collaborative effort with the behavioral health care community and other specialized fields to elucidate the common, essential experiences of people in recovery.

The new working definition of recovery from mental and substance use disorders is as follows:

A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.

Through the Recovery Support Strategic Initiative, SAMHSA has also delineated four major dimensions that support a life in recovery:
  1. Health: Overcoming or managing one's disease(s), as well as living in a physically and emotionally healthy way
  2. Home: A stable and safe place to live
  3. Purpose: Meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteering, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income, and resources to participate in society
  4. Community: Relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope
Click here to read the press release.

Support for Peer Supporters
by Rita Cronise
It was the summer of 2008 and I had just returned from Focus on Recovery United in Middletown, Connecticut, where I'd spent a whirlwind week with Shery Mead, Chris Hansen, and Heather McDonald learning to be a facilitator for Intentional Peer Support (IPS). I was eager to share what I had learned when I got back home to Rochester, New York.

Rochester Psychiatric Center agreed to sponsor a 10-week training course (4 hours every Friday). Half of the participants were peer advocates at the center; the other half were a mix of paid providers (Assertive Community Treatment team members, case managers, county peer consultants) and volunteer peer support group facilitators. With a spectrum of people who were being supported by those in the class, and fundamental differences in our organizations' approaches to providing services, our group had many rich conversations about how to accomplish the tasks of IPS.

At the end of the class, many of us wanted to continue the discussions. We explored different options for establishing an ongoing learning community and contacted National Association of Peer Specialists (NAPS) Founder Steve Harrington about becoming a local NAPS chapter. At the time, there were no official local chapters of NAPS, but Steve encouraged us to form a group and keep him posted on our progress.

In fall 2008, we held a series of community meetings and invited more peers to provide input on forming a local NAPS chapter. At one point, we had a particularly spirited debate on the term "peer specialist." Some felt it was too broad—too easily misunderstood. One person felt frustrated because he constantly had to explain what he meant by "peer," and the conversation always ended badly. We chose to use a different title, "recovery specialists," as the name of our local organization. We met in Monroe County, so we called our group the Monroe Association of Recovery Specialists (MARS). Marvin the Martian became our mascot (our semi-quarterly newsletter is the Martian Chronicles).

At one of our early sessions, we discussed how to attract expert speakers to our meetings. But as we looked around the room, we realized we were the experts! We didn't need to search for outside expertise on peer support. That was a turning point for me—and I suspect for many of us. We set up our calendar for the following year and took turns leading the monthly meeting. Over the past few years we have had presentations on Advocacy Principles (which became a monthly "Principles to Practice" segment), Co-occurring Support Groups, Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Wellness Recovery Action Plans, Spirituality, Physical–Behavioral Health Integration, Occupational Therapy, Hospital Diversion and Community Peer Respite, We Can Work Peer Coaching, Asset-Based Community Development, Peer Specialists in Training, and most recently, the Recovery to Practice Curriculum for Peer Specialists.

Our group continues to evolve, and new people bring fresh ideas. At one point, a number of family members started coming to the meetings. We decided to change our mission statement to include family advocates—and all providers—in the spirit of learning together. Our mission is simply to support those who provide support to others.

Rita Cronise is an instructional design consultant and recovery educator in Victor, New York. She is on the RTP team assisting Steve Harrington with the peer specialist curriculum and Web site.

Save the Date for the RTP Webinar:
"Assessing for and Addressing Trauma in Recovery-Oriented Practice"
This session will help practitioners determine when and how extensively traumatic experiences have affected people with behavioral health conditions, and how to incorporate that knowledge into their care-planning approach. In a comprehensive discussion on trauma-informed care, presenters will describe a range of supports, implementation tools, and interventions to address the role of trauma in recovery.

January 25, 2012

3–4:30 p.m. EST

Three multidisciplinary practitioners will share their perspectives on the differences between trauma-informed systems and other systems of care, including how trauma-informed assessment incorporates approaches to ensure safety, meet the consumer's needs, and avoid interventions that could recreate aspects of previous traumatic experiences. Presenters include practitioner Kevin Huckshorn, RN, MSN, who will talk about assessing trauma in an outpatient setting; Paula Panzer, MD, a recovery-oriented practitioner who will address trauma-informed care planning; and Eric Arauz, MLER, a member of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association RTP Steering and Curriculum Committees, who will discuss interventions and supports that have helped facilitate his recovery from personally traumatic experiences.

To register, click here.

Recovery Month Annual Event Awards
SAMHSA is pleased to acknowledge the efforts of those who planned and organized events for National Recovery Month. Now you can nominate your event for an award through the Recovery Month Annual Event Award program.

To post an event on the Recovery Month Web site, create an account and complete the online form by December 31, 2011. To nominate an event for an award, check the icon indicating your interest for award consideration and return the form by January 31, 2012.

There are four categories for potential awards:
    Rally and Walk/Run Events: Includes walks and/or runs, motorcycle/bicycle rides, and rallies
    Educational Events: Includes forums, town hall meetings, trainings, health fairs, movie or video discussion groups, provider or treatment center open houses with educational components, and faith-based lectures or trainings
    Special Celebrations: Includes art shows, picnics, cookouts, awards programs, concerts, open houses, entertainment events, communication/media events, sporting events, baseball games, festivals, poetry jams, and worship or prayer services
    SAMHSA–Sponsored Events: Includes events for which individuals had SAMHSA support in planning and conducting
A winner will be selected from each category. Travel expenses will be covered for one individual from the winning organization to attend the 2012 Recovery Month Luncheon and accept the Annual Event award. Award winners are not eligible to receive awards in subsequent years.

For more information, click here.

RTP Steering Committee Meeting
The semiannual Steering Committee call was held on December 5, 2011, and attended by Committee members, RTP project directors, and representatives from the National Association of Peer Specialists, American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, Council on Social Work Education, and American Psychiatric Association/American Association of Community Psychiatrists. RTP Project Director Dr. Larry Davidson moderated the meeting, which included progress updates from the RTP professional organizations, discussion about recovery practice in the field, resources, and upcoming Webinars.

NEW! RTP Resource
In the December 2011 issue of Psychiatric Services, six authors analyzed 30 international documents that offer guidance for recovery-oriented practice. The study aims were to identify key characteristics of practice guidance based on current international perspectives, and to develop an overarching conceptual framework that will incorporate recovery guidance into practice.

For more information, visit Psychiatric Services.

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.

Happy New Years

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.