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Peer to Peer: Meeting Those in Need Where They Are

Ramon Cruz

After more than three decades of substance use, Ramon Cruz decided to seek recovery and now is working with DBHIDS’ Certified Peer Specialist program, helping others access support for recovery.

By Monica Lewis-Wilborn

Ramon Cruz was tired.

He was tired of being in and out of trouble with the law. He was tired of disappointing his family. He was tired of letting his life spin out of control.

It was in that time of despair, when he was at his weakest point, that Ramon found the strength to take charge of his life and find a way to recovery after more than 30 years of substance use and numerous incarcerations. That was two years ago and today, Ramon, 53, is not just off of drugs, but he’s a part of our Certified Peer Specialist program with Community Behavioral Health (CBH), the managed care arm of the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) that serves as a voice for and resource to those impacted by behavioral health issues. Each day, Ramon uses his story to help others who find themselves on the same path to nowhere he traveled for so long.

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CPS Employment Technical Assistance Program (CETAP)

CPS Employment Technical Assistance Program (CETAP)

Hundreds Gather for iNAPS Conference

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.

Additional photos from the iNAPS Conference can be viewed on DBHIDS’ Facebook page.

Certified Peer Specialist Training

Certified Peer Specialist Training

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Peer to Peer: Meeting Those in Need Where They Are

Ramon Cruz

After more than three decades of substance use, Ramon Cruz decided to seek recovery and now is working with DBHIDS’ Certified Peer Specialist program, helping others access support for recovery.

By Monica Lewis-Wilborn

Ramon Cruz was tired.

He was tired of being in and out of trouble with the law. He was tired of disappointing his family. He was tired of letting his life spin out of control.

It was in that time of despair, when he was at his weakest point, that Ramon found the strength to take charge of his life and find a way to recovery after more than 30 years of substance use and numerous incarcerations. That was two years ago and today, Ramon, 53, is not just off of drugs, but he’s a part of our Certified Peer Specialist program with Community Behavioral Health (CBH), the managed care arm of the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) that serves as a voice for and resource to those impacted by behavioral health issues. Each day, Ramon uses his story to help others who find themselves on the same path to nowhere he traveled for so long.

Read more

CPS Employment Technical Assistance Program (CETAP)

CPS Employment Technical Assistance Program (CETAP)

Hundreds Gather for iNAPS Conference

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.

Additional photos from the iNAPS Conference can be viewed on DBHIDS’ Facebook page.

Certified Peer Specialist Training

Certified Peer Specialist Training

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