Recovery is possible! Spread the word! Stop the stigma!
We are a network of 800+ individuals across Montana in recovery from mental health, substance abuse and or addiction struggles. We provide information, education, training, peer support and resources across the state using our own “lived experience” in long term recovery. This is the recovery movement. A national shift from a maintenance model of behavioral health to a recovery model, where every individual has access to care, choices, and the message that “recovery is possible.
We are peer run, by people in recovery. We promote the recovery concepts of hope, self advocacy, education, peer support, personal responsibility and resiliency. We believe that these concepts are universal regardless of what recovery program you may chose. We are a member based organization with a board of directors and staff. We are located in beautiful Livingston, Montana. Let us know if you are going to be in town and would like to stop by give us a call at 406- 551- 1058.Our office is located at 109 East Lewis Street, Livingston, MT 59047
Hope – Education – Self Advocacy – Peer Support – Personal Responsibility – Resiliency
We currently have more than 800+ members in 45 unique communities across Montana as of August 2017. To join the recovery movement in Montana and become and MPN member, click here.
Meet the Staff
Jim Hajny- Executive Director
Jim Hajny is the Executive Director of Montana’s Peer Network, a statewide peer run 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to provide opportunities for recovery. Jim has been in recovery for 21 years from a dual diagnosis in which he was hospitalized three times and has survived two suicide attempts. He believes recovery is not only possible, but it should be a part of the process when someone is given a diagnosis. “Without the message of hope or recovery we have nothing…and peer support should be part of that message.” Jim is the author of “Into Recovery”, his screen play “Misunderstood” has been performed live on stage and he wrote and directed the documentary “Dandelion”, chronicling early childhood trauma . Jim is also the former program coordinator for Peer Solutions Drop In Center in Livingston, Montana and a trained Peer Supporter. Jim chairs the Montana Peer Support Task Force and serves as a Governor appointee to the Mental Disabilities Board of Visitors.
Alexandra Schwier- Project Director
Alex brings her nonprofit experience from Peace Corps, her passion for advocacy work and her own personal recovery journey to the table to strengthen MPN’s mission and help Montanans in recovery. After being sexually assaulted, Alex wanted to be able to share her experience and help others who were struggling to cope after similar traumas. Alex began working in the Peer Support field as an advocate at the University of Montana’s Student Assault Resource Center (SARC) in 2011 and held the position of Peer Supporter during her Peace Corps service in Albania. As well as being an RPCV—Alex has lived and worked in New York City, Montana and Spain. She has travelled to a total of 30 countries (to complete a bucketlist goal of visiting 30 countries by 30!) but Montana is still where she calls home. Alex grew up in Bozeman and graduated from the University of Montana.
Teresa Gault- Recovery Coach and Outreach Coordinator
My name is Teresa Gault and I live in Bozeman, Montana with my husband and beautiful teenage daughter. We share our home with a miniature schnauzer, two tabby rescue cats, two fat, adorable guinea pigs, two chatty parakeets, and two tanks of freshwater fish. The only sport I enjoy watching is the one my daughter is playing! My life experiences include poverty, depression, anxiety, trauma and alcohol and substance use disorders. I was caught in a cycle where I revolved in and out of the courts, probation, and detention centers. The birth of my daughter and my life experiences have urged me on this journey of discovering who I am, recognizing my value, and realizing my purpose. I have been in recovery for 13 years and started my journey with a 12-step program that opened my world to the life-changing effects of peer support. I am exhilarated to be a part a team with a mission to support others in recovery, plant the seed of hope, and change lives for the better.
Meet the Board
Brent Morris – President, Treasurer, Billings Affiliate committee
My name is Brent Morris and I live in South Central Montana with my wife and dog. I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety all of my life while living with an inherited genetic eye disease. The eye disease is progressive and what little sight I have will diminish to total blindness. I have placed tools in my toolbox such as empowering my recovery through faith in God and Montana’s Peer Network. My road to my recovery has tight turns and road blocks but knowing there is hope allows me to continue. Parts of my life have included planning suicide and not wanting to fight any longer. Being able to share and network with peers is a piece of my life’s foundation, building my whole life. My life turned to a new chapter and it brought barriers after being at fault in an auto accident and taking someone’s life. I was driving while under the influence of alcohol. My recovery journey seemed to be going backwards but faith in God and support from peers helped me to be content with who I am. Montana’s Peer Network has opened doors to “power tools” in my toolbox for holistic health. I work at an Independent Living Center and am involved in coordinating peer support. I am also on boards advocating for Behavioral Health supports in Montana.
Dee Romine- Vice President, Butte Affiliate
I was born in Deer Lodge, MT I moved to Butte in 3rd grade and grew up there. I graduated from Butte Central Catholic High School, where I was very involved in church and outreach programs, as well as volunteer work. During that time, I was in a program called Civil Air Patrol, which was an auxiliary of the Air Force. After high school I moved to Helena and went to Maddio Cosmetology School of Hair and Nails and graduated after a year. I was a Cosmetologist for many years, but after the birth of my son in 2005 I became allergic to color and perms, so I went back to school and became a massage therapist. At the age of 29 I had my first mental health crisis, and my journey began (after a lot of self work). In 2014, I started volunteering in the kitchen at the day hall program here in Butte, and this is something that continues for other clients. I started a group as a client in 2014 called Open Social Group ,for peers to connect with each other and support each other.I ran this group for two more years and now it continues. In 2015-2016 I did a “Stomp Out The Stigma Walk” to boost the hope in my fellow peers. We were all on the local news. Those who participate get a free t-shirt every year through the money raised by me and supported by many. I also worked as a Peer Support Specialist at the crisis house here in Butte. I’ve spoken in front of legislators on behalf of improving mental health service sand told a version of my story in front of the Chief Executive of Butte, MT and county commissioners to form the local advisory council in Silverbow County (BSBMHLAC)I’m a member of the BSBMHLAC as a board member with lived experience. 2019 will be the end of my four year term.I was also the rep to the Western Service Area Authority for two years. I run a weekly affiliate group for Montana’s Peer Network in Butte, helped run monthly groups at Montana State Hospital for MPN, and was part of the committee that received the funding for Montana’s Peer Network’s Recovery Coach Outreach Project in Butte,started in 2018. Onward and upward. Recovery is possible!!
Ginny Carnes- Treasurer, Great Falls Affiliate
Hello, my name is Virginia Carnes but I go by Ginny. I grew up moving all over the US and Germany because my dad was in the Army. I noticed a difference in my life around the age of 13 when all I wanted to do was run away from home or take my own life. I was getting in trouble with the law a lot when I was 21 years old. This continued until 1992 when I moved to Montana after a long stay in a private hospital for the mentally ill. I continue to get in trouble with the law. I had learned a lot about how to take care of myself but was unable to unlock my wellness toolbox until my doctor found a new medication for me. From that day on, I was able to access my toolbox and have been fairly stable since then. I because a Peer Support Specialist in 2011, working with my peers for a mental health center. Now I volunteer for NAMT doing Peer-to-Peer classes and “In Our Own Voice” presentations. I have spoken at a Crisis Intervention Team training which was a room full of law enforcement officers. I am also on the Cascade County Mental Health Advisory Council.
Hello my name is Bobbie Becker and I live in Glendive Montana. I graduated from Dawson County High School (DCHS) in 1989 and attended Dawson Community College. I have two sons; Stephen lives in Missoula and Micah is a senior at DCHS and is getting ready to graduate in May.
Many people don’t know I have anxiety; I take medicine and use coping and grounding skills daily. I need people to understand it is very, very real and we need less criticism and judgment and more love and support. I’ve learned that recovery is about becoming better equipped to deal with setbacks. There’s no such thing as “fixed” or “all better now.” It’s a daily struggle so I have learned in my recovery to create a healing environment through yoga, essentials oils, candles, smudging and meditation which helps me bring a sense of peace, hope and joy to my life.
That is why I am very passionate about peer supports and recovery. I have worked at Living Independently for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT) for the past 14 years. I help people of all ages and disabilities know their rights and responsibilities while helping them learn how to access services and resources available to them. I participate and provide input at the Glendive Advisory Council and sit on the Eastern Service Area Authority Board to provide a consumer voice and perspective on ways to improve our public mental health services, identify gaps and help reduce the stigma surrounding mental and substance use disorders.
“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud” ~ Maya Angelou
Past Board of Directors: Jennifer Fauque, Matt Furlong, Gary Travis, Sandi Glenn, Matthew Stewart, Lillian Fowler, Michael Caruso, Charley Johnson, Kerry Brown, Liz Silliman, Robin Johnson, Tracy Stone, Kerri Wood, Kay O’holm-Montague and Mike Parker – We thank you for your past service.
Meet Our Members
We currently have more than 800+ members in 45 unique communities across Montana. Check out our map to see how many members live near you! Want to become a member? Basic membership is free! Find out more about the benefits of becoming a member and how to sign up here.
Zoom to Montana on the map to see where our members are:
2-Year Strategic Plan Summary
GOAL 1: Be a self-sustaining organization: financial diversification
GOAL 2: Establish and support signature programs
GOAL 3: Expand our influence : Advocacy and public relations
GOAL 4: Build capacity among Board members and staff: legacy planning
Hope – Education – Self Advocacy – Peer Support – Personal Responsibility – Resiliency
The history of the national recovery movement
Video – Joseph Rogers
- MPN receives funding to begin Recovery Coaching programs in Butte and Eastern Montana
- SAMHSA grant and Recovery Opioid Project grant continue
- Over 800 members across the state
- MPN receives a 2-year grant to implement peer support programming as part of the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis grant
- SAMHSA grant and Recovery Coach Outreach Project continue
- 6 PS101 trainings, 3 employer/provider trainings, 9 trauma trainings, 1 intro to recovery training, 2 clinical supervisor trainings and 6 webinars offered
- Montana reaches 100 peer supporters in the workforce for the first time
- Over 630 MPN members across the state
- MPN receives a 3-year SAMHSA Peer Support Recovery Enhancement Project grant to train peer supporters state-wide
- The Recovery Coach Outreach Project is featured in the National Council on Behavioral Health magazine
- 4 PS101 trainings and 11 Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies events offered
- Over 560 members across the state
- Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies workbook developed
- Recovery Coach Pilot Project provides community based mobile crisis outreach in Gallatin County utilizing peer support and working in conjunction with CIT Montana
- MPN holds the first Peer Support 101 training in Helena and 19 Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies events offered
- MPN reaches the 400 member count
- Recovery Coach Pilot Project in Gallatin County launched (3 pilot projects are funded by the Montana Mental Health Trust to move peer support out of centers and placing it in the community. Winds of Change, Consumer Direct and MPN all hire peer supporters)
- Peer Support 101 training is developed
- 7 Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies events offered
- The latest incarnation of Montana’s statewide peer run organization was officially incorporated in December 2011 with non profit 501c3 status achieved. The entire organization was re-constituted and the old organization dissolved. With new leadership, a new board of directors and new by-laws Montana’s Peer Network was born. New recruitment, executive director hired, healthy budget and we began to forge a new future.
- In October 2009, Montana Peer Network held a meeting of the steering committee and others, where our thoughts and energy centered around fostering teamwork, strategic planning, membership, and building other needed committees to strengthen our network .
- In November of 2009 in Helena MPN held its inaugural WRAP Facilitator Training. Eleven participants were selected from across the state to attend a 5 – Day Intensive WRAP Facilitator Training. These newly trained facilitators expanded the access to WRAP throughout our vast state.
- In August of 2008, Montana Peer Network moved toward a leadership team – steering committee approach as our team was operating on a limited scale and all input at our meeting was deemed valid to the growth of our organization and the inclusion of individuals. Since that time, Montana Peer Network has continued the strategic planning process through meetings, conference calls and emails etc.
- Montana Peer Network worked closely with Mental Health America of Montana, through its National Consumer Technical Assistance Center (NCSTAC), to organize a consumer-run organization in Montana in an effort to promote mental health recovery
- The consumer/peer movement officially began in Montana.
- Became the first recognized peer organization in Montana (originally named CALM4us). The main focus was Wellness Recovery Action Planning workshops started by four WRAP facilitators
Past and Current Funders of MPN
Montana Mental Health Trust
Addictive and Mental Disorder Division MT
Gallatin County, Montana
Children’s Mental Health Bureau MT
Park County Local Advisory Council
Town Pump Foundation
Early Childhood Development Project
Summit Independent Living Centers
Public at Large