DBHIDS collaborated with the International Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS) to bring the 10th annual National Peer Support Conference to Philadelphia. Over 500 people attended the conference Aug. 26-28, making it their largest to date.
DBHIDS Commissioner Dr. Arthur Evans welcomed people to the conference via video, as he was out of the country. Visitors attended from around the globe and as far away as Hong Kong. Keynote speakers then discussed ongoing developments within the iNAPS organization. Speakers included DBHIDS Deputy Commissioner Roland Lamb; Beverly Haberle, Executive Director of the Council of Southeast Pennsylvania/PRO-ACT; and Nancy Wieman, former Deputy Mental Health Commissioner of Montgomery County.
Day two’s keynote speakers gave an emotional reminder of how far peer support has come. Presenters included Laurie Ashcraft, executive consultant of iNAPS; Robyn Priest, lead coordinator of Peerlink; Gina Calhoun, national director for wellness and recovery training at the Copeland Center; and Gayathri Ramprasad, president of ASHA International. Attendees were also able to enjoy consumer activist and artist Sharon Wise’s artistic dance with spoken word performance.
There were over 60 workshops with presenters from across the country providing the most up-to-date information in the field of peer support. Attendees had a chance to see innovative contributions to peer culture, support, and leadership. The conference was also a great opportunity for certified peer specialists, certified recovery specialists, and the peer volunteer workforce in Philadelphia to network, get re-inspired, and to obtain continued education and support for their occupational wellness.