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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration


Last Updated: 11/6/2013

SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)

 

Peer-Driven Innovations: Changing Systems, Changing Lives

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Presenters

  • Gayle Bluebird, RN, is Peer Services Director in the State of Delaware. She is a pioneer in the recovery movement who continues to work nationally to promote networks for talented consumer artists and create peer roles in inpatient settings.
  • Pamela Werner, M.A., LLP, is a Specialist in the Bureau of Community Mental Health Services where she is responsible for leadership and policy direction for the Certified Peer Support Specialist Initiative.

Teleconference Overview

People with lived experience have long been aware of the significant value and positive benefits of peer-provided services. Research conducted over the last 10–15 years has also documented these benefits. Peers, individuals in recovery from mental health and substance use issues who have valuable knowledge to share about their journeys of recovery, can be very supportive since they have “been there” and serve as living examples that individuals can and do recover from mental health problems and addiction.

Peers also serve as advocates and support others who may experience discrimination and prejudice. As leaders in their communities peers promote positive change to ensure dignity and respect for individuals in recovery and full access to resources including health, social, economic, and cultural systems that promote recovery. By promoting a broader concept of recovery from mental health and substance use conditions that engages all aspects of community life, peers are primary drivers of a social inclusion perspective. Peer support networks and the dedicated people who work in the peer support community continuously strive to find ways for peers to take their rightful place at various levels in the mental health system as experts through knowledge and experience. They also strive to ensure that peers are paid equitably and have opportunities for advancement and further skill development.

The Recovery Support Initiative of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is one of eight strategic initiatives outlined in Leading Change: A Plan for SAMHSA’s Roles and Actions, 2011–2014. This initiativehighlights the need for the active participation by people with lived experience in the development and implementation of a broader array of care and support services. It also provides a framework for moving communities and service systems to become more socially inclusive.

During this webinar you will hear how Michigan has accessed and utilized Federal funds to train and develop a strong peer workforce within the State. You’ll also learn about the large-scale systems transformation underway in Delaware, a concrete example of what can be accomplished when a powerful and effective collaborative alliance between people with lived experience and a bold, visionary State mental health commissioner is established. Our speakers today are both visionaries who are changing the face of healthcare service delivery.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about innovative peer support initiatives that highlight the collaboration of people at the Federal, State, and local levels.
  • Hear about legislative and policy issues that enhance the implementation and financing of innovative peer services.
  • Understand the role of training and development in the creation of a strong and diverse peer workforce.
  • Hear inspiring success stories of courageous peers who are blazing new paths in the mental health movement.

Target Audiences:

  • People in recovery from mental health, substance use, and trauma-related challenges
  • Families
  • Peer-run or recovery organizations
  • Mental health and substance abuse service providers
  • Staff of State and county mental health or behavioral health departments
  • Healthcare providers
  • Peer support professionals and advocates
  • Federal, State, and local agency personnel, policymakers, and public officials
  • Faith-based and community-based organizations that provide support to individuals and families in recovery

Speaker Biographies:

Gayle Bluebird, RN,has been in the consumer/survivor movement for almost 40 years. Her awakening came when, after leaving her family because of overwhelming sadness and a wish to withdraw from life, she spent time in residential treatment that she found to be abusive. Her work as a psychiatric nurse combined with her experience as a consumer gave her a unique perspective as an advocate. In 1991 she created an Office of Consumer Affairs in Broward County in Florida. There, she was recognized for producing “Pioneer Dialogues” conferences that brought peers and providers together. From 1998 to 2000 she worked as a Peer Advocate at South Florida State Hospital, where she developed “Comfort Rooms,” which she continues to replicate in hospitals throughout the country. From 2000 to 2003, Ms. Bluebird worked for the Florida Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities. She also wrote two SAMHSA-funded guidebooks, Reaching Across with the Arts and Participatory Dialogues. In addition, she has served as a consultant to the Center for Mental Health Services at SAMHSA and has produced a film, Leaving the Door Open: Alternatives to Seclusion and Restraint. In 2010 she was awarded a SAMHSA VOICE award for her advocacy work. Ms. Bluebird currently works as Peer Services Director in the State of Delaware. She continues to work nationally to promote networks for talented consumer artists and create peer roles in inpatient settings.

Pamela Werner, M.A., LLP, is a Specialist in the Bureau of Community Mental Health Services. She is responsible for leadership and policy direction for the Certified Peer Support Specialist Initiative. In addition, she provides training and technical assistance in person-centered planning and self-determination. Ms. Werner is a member of both the Michigan Recovery Council and Recovery Oriented Systems of Care Transformation Steering Committee. She has received an award from the Governor for accomplishments in developing a peer-trained workforce as part of Michigan’s systems transformation efforts. Ms. Werner was the primary author and responsible for the implementation of several mental health grant awards centered on systems transformation efforts for recovery.  She received the Association of Territorial Health Officials Vision Award in 2010 in the area of creative and innovative approaches in addressing public health challenges. In addition, she has provided national presentations, technical assistance, and consultation to a variety of organizations including the Pillars of Peer Support Summit. She has over 20 years of clinical and administrative experience in providing services and supports for individuals with disabilities and has been an author and co-author of a text and several journal articles. She has a bachelor of science degree in occupational therapy and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Western Michigan University.

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This Web site was developed under contract with the Office of Consumer Affairs in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The views, opinions, and content provided on this Web site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS. The resources listed in this Web site are not all-inclusive and inclusion on this Web site does not constitute an endorsement by SAMHSA or HHS.