9 thoughts on “iNAPS eNews Comments

  1. My organization is very interested in getting updated information through conferences but cannot afford the cost. Do you offer stipends? If so, we would gladly join your organization. Rachel L. Dray, Peer Support Specialist, Black Hawk grundy Mental Health Center, Waterloo, Iowa. rdray@bhgmhc.com

    Thanks for your note Rachel. We wish we could offer scholarships to everyone to attend the conference, but we are not in a financial position to offer scholarships to everyone – we do not offer scholarships to anyone. The ALTERNATIVES conference offered a great, updated, list of ways to seek funding from local sources that might be helpful: http://www.alternatives2016peerlinktac.org/funding-information/

  2. In response to article by Lori Ashcraft/Gene Johnson…

    Lori (and Gene) have thoughtfully identified some of the challenges of creating a well-funded peer run organization, especially when the only viable option for long-term sustainability is viewed in the box of Medicaid funded services. I have seen and believe in a third possible alternative – funding through non-Medicaid services, where the values of mutual peer support, recovery, resilience and wellness create the framework for successful creative funding. My agency, Promise Resource Network, has approximately 35 staff, 95% of whom have lived experience, and are lead by a BOD with more than 75% lived experience. Our budget is substantial and has almost doubled in the past year.

    Like the path described by Lori and Gene, this road also requires important financial, management, networking and other skills often lacking in peer run organizations. Mentoring from those that have learned these skills in the context of peer-run agencies can easily fill in the gaps, however, if we, as a community, rally and advocate for something more meaningful than finding a way to squeeze into the system’s structure and limitations.

  3. Posted on behalf of Gayle Bluebird
    From: gaylebluebird@aol.com
    To: rita.cronise@outlook.com
    Subject: Response to Behavioral Health Article for daily digest

    I am responding to Lori’s article in Behavioral Health Journal, nicely done as a history of iNAPS. I am hopeful that there are articles being written and published about our current status and how the organization has grown.

    I had a strong reaction to the way in which Lori presented peer support. She indicated that this is a challenge for the organization and adding Steve’s recommendation and perspective on the subject. I value Steve tremendously for what he has done to build an organization but I think it would be good to state the pros and cons of the issue. There almost seemed to be a leaning towards the wider view of peer support (as I read it) .

    This issue is fundamental to the organization and needs to have some clarity before long. If we are serving all peer supporters how can we be a professional organization? Which profession does it represent? Or are we a professional organization? And if not, are there funding sources that would support an organization that represents a group of people not clearly defined? My thinking is that there is a huge number of peers working as peer support specialists (and may I add professionals) who are reliant on our support. We are a growing phenomenon– peers having started at the bottom of the ladder who have hopes of being more than being a menial task maker.
    Peer specialists now can work in specialized areas, get accreditation, continuing education, be supervisors, and even administrators. Our task as an organization is to represent them but if we spread ourselves so thin than who are we? I am also confused about\what or who are these peer supporters that we represent? Persons who support their neighbor, who grieve and support someone who is dying, who provide someone in counseling but without an experience that has impacted their lives due to mental health issues? If we look carefully we can see that there are a number of support groups that exist for a vast number of people with different issues. Our concern has been and must continue to be for those who have a significant mental health history that they can share with others who have had similar issues. Telling Your Story is at the heart of who we are. There can be other organizations that may need training on how to provide peer support but their issues may be different and not the same as in mental health.

    I believe there must be some clarification or this organization will flounder. Who do w?e say we are at the upcoming conference? Other comments?

    I define who we are as being representative of persons with mental health issues ( se rious mental health issues) who need support as to how they advance their careers as peer support specialists. We also represent all peers who wish to become a peer specialist. We are a clearinghouse for information on a variety of issues regarding the profession of peer specialists, including information and support for non-peer supervisors and providers. I just want to know who this organization is. I am sure others feel this should be resolved. ???

  4. Posted on behalf of Lyn Legere on 7/17/2016
    Hi all,
    Thanks Bluebird for your thoughts. They’re important considerations necessary to our ongoing development.

    I also read Lori’s article. Thanks, Lori, for getting info on iNaps out to that audience, and highlighting the financial need, which seemed to be the goal of the article. As I read the article, though, I felt like there was an over-emphasis on the challenges to this audience, especially as a quasi-introduction. I fear that some may see in the challenges some of the usual complaints about peer workers, etc.

    So…I did a response that highlighted more of the accomplishments and created more of a context for some of the challenges. This is just meant to be additive, not critical of what was written. I put my comments below for you to see.

    Thanks, L
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Thanks, Lori, for bringing greater awareness to iNaps. It’s an organization that anyone who hires peer support workers should be aware of.

    iNaps has indeed had challenges, not unlike most organization experienced when they were part of an emerging profession. The organization has tried to use participatory processes that are consistent with the values of the field: mutuality, inclusion, equally shared power, open-minded and respectful. As a result, finite definitions or firmed up policies of purpose and governance have taken longer to achieve, meeting the needs of some while frustrating others. Again, these are the growing pains of a young organization.

    At the same time, in its short existence, iNaps has created two peer support curricula (original NAPS Peer Support and the 2015 Recovery to Practice curriculum), has drafted Practice Principles, has served as information and referral to thousands of individuals, and is about to host its 10th Annual conference.

    Most important, though, iNaps is a place where people working in the field can find others who are trying to shape the field, ensure that peer support workers are valued in the work force, and develop a professional identity.

    Like all peer support work, the work of iNaps has been done with virtually no resources, but have found a way to continue on just the same. Doing a lot with little is a core skill of peer support workers, and I believe that iNaps has also done the same.

    As Lori noted, iNaps entered a new chapter with the sudden loss of Steve Harrington at the helm. My guess is that this new chapter will include bringing in greater definitions and structure.

    But the spirit of iNaps and its connection to the field’s values are the most important elements that should be nurtured and expanded through any ongoing development.

  5. I need the training and away to pay for it for peer support specialist training

  6. How do I get connected to a support group for highly-functioning individuals suffering from depression and anxiety? I want an IN-PERSON support group; not an online place to post.

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