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"Year of the Peer" Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network Conference


A couple of weeks ago I visited St. Simon's Island, Georgia to attend the annual Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network, Inc. (GMHCN) conference. The theme of this year's conference was "The Year of the Peer." I enjoyed the three-day conference because of the fellowship with my peers and the honor to be one of the keynote speakers among Georgia's Commissioner Frank Berry and Jana Spalding.

I titled my talk, "I Choose To Live!," which was inspired by Jen's award title. I spoke about my experiences, how I am living a quality life in recovery, and what peer support looks like. My talk encouraged everyone to talk to their neighbor and to create a title for their inspirational book. The experience was amazing because I was able to get each individual to help others with their talents and gifts.

Moreover, every attendee received a copy of my book, which was so exciting! I signed my book for others throughout the remaining days of the conference and made a lot of contacts. I also facilitated a workshop on my book: What's on My Mind? A Collection of Blog Entries from "Overcoming Schizophrenia." I offered a preview of my book by selecting specific sections to focus on  and had a wonderful discussion with the participants in my class. For example, I asked them what their "good days" looked like and what they aspired to do.

The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network, Inc. (GMHCN) facilitates the state's Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) training in addition to several training courses such as Mental Health First Aid, Wellness, Recovery, Action, Plan (WRAP), and the Respect Institute of Georgia. The organization manages a few peer-led respite centers throughout the state. And each year during the month of August they hosts a conference for people living in recovery and who are adding continuing education units for their Certified Peer Specialist certification.

Comments

Shanan said…
I have read your book and it was so helpful to me even though I don't have Schizophrenia I have Bipolar and I still can relate to you in your book thank so much.
Ashley Smith said…
Hi Shanan,

I appreciate your thoughtfulness by offering me feedback about my book, it takes courage to disclose and to identify yourself as a consumer, I applaud you for taking the time out to comment. I am so glad you were able to relate and that my book was helpful to you.

Warm regards,
Ashley Smith
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mentalist said…
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sickness said…
But many children have mental illness and, unfortunately, are not diagnosed or treated. The purpose of these facts is to alert you to mental illness and watch for it in children.

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