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November 17, 2011 Volume 2, Issue 42
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To access RTP's Weekly Highlights, quarterly e-newsletters, Webinar recordings,
and PowerPoint presentations,
please visit http://www.dsgonline.com/rtp/resources.html.
The Weekly Highlights archive is a virtual library of information on recovery. Topics range from peer specialist training and recovery-oriented systems to personal accounts of addiction, mental illness, and wellness. If you have missed a week's publication, check out volumes 1 and 2—more than 70 archived issues are available.

Peer Choices, Inc. Executive Summary
by Pamela Estigoy
Peer Choices, Inc. started in 2006 in Waterford, Michigan, as a cooperative of mental health consumers helping members leverage their collective resources, power, and voice to maximize the benefits and supports they receive. We became incorporated in August 2006 and received our Federal 501c3 status in March 2007.

Our mission statement reflects our organizational values and goals: "We exist to engage in partnerships and opportunities that empower individuals with mental health challenges to have a self-determined, enhanced quality of life."

At Peer Choices we believe consumers can competently make decisions about their lives that will result in outcomes "as good as or better than" those currently achieved by mental health professionals, and at a substantially lower cost. Mental health consumers govern the organization and receive training and support to accomplish our objectives.

The staff at Peer Choices are former or current consumers of mental health services (also known as "peers") and are accountable to the board of directors. Most staff members have completed intensive 40-hour peer specialist training and a competency test delivered by the State of Michigan. After successfully completing the test, they become qualified by the Michigan Department of Community Health to work as Certified Peer Support Specialists.

Peer Support Specialists (PSS) are people who are strong in their recovery, have specialized training, and possess a unique background and skill level as a result of their personal experience with mental illness. They understand how to use services and supports to achieve their goals of community membership, independence, and productivity. Because of their shared experience, perspective on mental illness, and interaction with the human services system, PSS have a special ability to gain trust and respect from others.

Peer Specialist Services, as defined by the Michigan Department of Community Health Medicaid Provider Manual, "provide individuals with opportunities to support, mentor, and assist consumers to achieve community inclusion, participation, independence, recovery, resiliency, and/or productivity."

Peer Choices is a mental health services organization fully operated and delivered by peers. Our purpose is to give mental health consumers the ability to
  • Gain knowledge of recovery and develop empowerment skills
  • Gain access to self-determination choices
  • Find community resources
  • Locate volunteer opportunities
  • Receive training to assist in job placement
  • Participate in programs offered by Peer Choices:
    • Wellness Recovery Action Plan Workshop
    • Positive Action Toward Health Workshop
    • Pathways FOR–U Workshop
    • Five Stages of Recovery Workshop
    • Peer Bridger Program
    • Peer Mentoring Program
    • "Moving Forward" (a PSS pre-employment course)
    • Self-Determination Options
    • Drop-in Center Management and Programming Services
    • Family Support Services
    • Peer-Delivered Crisis Intervention and Prevention
    • Person-Centered Planning Independent Facilitation
    • Independent Facilitator Training Program
    • Supportive Employment Services
Contact Peer Choices, Inc. at 248.451.5350 or visit http://peerchoices.org.

AHRQ Webinar
Using Deliberative Methods to Engage Patients, Consumers, and the Public
December 6, 2011

2–3:30 p.m. EST

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) invites you to participate in a Webinar on using deliberative methods to explore views on health policy and health care issues held by patients, consumers, caregivers, and other members of the community.

Initiated in 2010, AHRQ's Community Forum seeks to expand public and stakeholder engagement in the agency's Effective Health Care Program, which conducts and supports comparative effectiveness research. As part of this effort, AHRQ has focused on deliberative methods for obtaining public views.

During the Webinar, participants will share effective tools for enhancing work in public deliberation, patient/consumer involvement, and community engagement. Public deliberation convenes members of the public or a specific community to learn about and discuss societal issues. The purpose is to learn from participants and ultimately to make policy decisions that reflect their views. Various deliberative methods can be used to reach the general public or people who are affected by a particular issue.

Webinar discussion will include
  • How deliberative methods vary from more traditional and familiar methods for obtaining public views (such as opinion polls or focus groups)
  • The circumstances in which deliberative methods could be useful
  • Issues appropriate for deliberation
  • Defining features of deliberative methods
  • Best practices in the application of deliberative methods
  • How deliberative methods could be used in your work
To register, click here.

Recovery Session at CSWE's Annual Program Meeting
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) led an RTP presentation at their 57th Annual Program Meeting (APM), October 27–30, 2011, in Atlanta, Georgia.

The APM theme was "Increasing Access: Confronting Disparity and Inequality." CSWE's RTP Steering Committee was involved in the presentation—conducted during the Mental Health Recovery in Social Work session—and approximately 30 people attended. Open discussion and an informative dialogue engaged participants, many of whom offered assessment tools and resources in addition to volunteering for pilot sites. Social work students in recovery expressed interest in becoming involved with the RTP project.

For more information about the conference, please visit http://www.cswe.org/Meetings/2011apm.aspx. CSWE also has a wealth of resources and announcements on their Recovery to Practice page.

New Online Tools Support Behavioral Health
SAMHSA is making it easier than ever to spread awareness about behavioral health. Their new online tools include a treatment facility locator, access to SAMHSA publications, and social data and campaign tools. Use the widgets in your organization's emails or newsletters and link your readers to some of the most helpful behavioral health resources available.

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.