News and Notes for July 21

While peer support in the mental health community has gained traction in recent years, it is still relatively unfamiliar to the average person on the street. They might know that mental health is a leading health issue, or that more people need support than end up getting it, but they are unlikely to understand the role that people with lived experience can play in supporting recovery and helping their peers to live meaningful lives in the community.

However, based on a recent attention brought to peer support by National Public Radio, it appears that peer support may become a more familiar, mainstream concept in the near future. Their July 11 story, “In Texas, People With Mental Illness Are Finding Work Helping Peers,” describes how one state has turned to peer support as a means to address its inability to address the demand for mental health support. The story highlights the way in which peer support emphasizes the process of building a life in the community, and also notes the challenges in integrating peer specialists into teams including social workers and psychiatrists.

You can read or listen to the story at

In other news, the Alternatives conference is a little more than a month away, and a list of presentations that will be included is now available. You can find it online at

Alternatives organizers are also seeking nominations for the awards that are given out each year at the event, the Esperanza Hope Award, the Youth and Young Adult Peer Leadership Award, the Cookie Gant and Bill Compton LGBT Leadership Award, and the Howie the Harp Arts Award. Nominations are due TODAY, July 21, and nomination forms are online at

For more news and notes, please see below!


Woman Requests Time Off for Mental Health, Boss Sends the Perfect Reply

In the corporate world, mental health remains a somewhat taboo subject, and many workers are hesitant to use their sick leave to address their mental health. That’s why the surprising positive reaction from one employer has gone viral, as USA Today accounts here.  

Attend or Watch the SAMHSA 2017 Voice Awards

Wednesday, August 16
7:30 p.m. Pacific Time, Los Angeles, CA

Register to attend SAMHSA’s 2017 Voice Awards! Help honor people in recovery and their family members who are community champions seeking to improve the lives of people with mental illnesses and addictions. The Voice Awards also recognizes television and film productions that educate the public about behavioral health and showcase that recovery is real and possible.

Register to attend in person at

Reserve a spot to watch online at

International Association of Peer Supporters 2017 Conference

October 16 – 18
Phoenix, Arizona

The theme of this year’s iNAPS Conference is “Recovering & Sustaining Peer Support: Creating a Path for Our Future” and early bird registration is available through July 30. Scheduled keynote speakers include Pat Deegan, Chacku Mathai, and Sally Zinman.

For more information, visit

Outside-the-Box Accommodations in College

Transitions RTC has released the second episode in its “Outside-the-Box Accommodations in College” series. In this episode, special guest Laura DiGalbo makes another appearance to discuss best practices when thinking about academic accommodations for young adults with mental health conditions.

View part 1 of the episode:

View part 2 of the episode:

Half of Opioid Prescriptions Go to People With Mental Illness

This US News article reveals the astonishing rate of opioid prescriptions among people with mental health conditions.

How Modern Life Affects Our Physical And Mental Health

The pace of modern life and the prevalence of technology have all manner of implications for health and well-being. This Medical News Today article looks at some of the ways in which social media, screen use, and other technological trends can impact mental health.

Virtual Learning Series: Cultivating the Next Generation of Youth and Young Adult Leaders

Thursday, July 20, 2:30 – 4:00 pm ET
Thursday, July 27, 2:30 – 4:00 pm ET

The Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) is hosting a series of interactive sessions on how organizations and individuals can implement proactive strategies for cultivating the next generation of YYA leaders.

Succession Planning and Leadership Development for YYA-Run Organizations and Programs on July 20th will outline a variety of organizational practices that support proactive succession planning and ongoing leadership development.

Mentoring New Leaders on July 27th will explore the skills, attitudes, and behaviors of great mentors.

Register at

Webinar: Straight Talk about Peer Supervision

July 25, 2:00 pm ET

During this workshop, host Susan Nayamora, President/CEO South Florida Wellness Network, Inc.,  will share some strategies and skills that she has acquired over the last six years as a peer specialist supervisor working in various services settings. She will also expand the topic by sharing some of her advocacy efforts to educate the greater community on the integration of peer specialist, appropriate supervision, reasonable accommodations and organizational culture.

Register at