I strongly believe recovery is possible for anyone dealing with any type of diagnosis especially a cross disability. I was diagnosed with a genetic eye disease at age 5 and struggled with anxiety and depression throughout childhood coping with my feelings, acting reckless, and using alcohol for covering my disability into my teen years. Seeing my life’s situation through my relationship with God - being born again - is empowering me to see there is hope. During my years abusing alcohol I was at fault for a head on auto accident resulting in charges of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault along with DUI. My decisions - changing my lifestyle and following a recovery plan - lead mr to Montana’s Peer Network as a member of their Board of Directors in 2016-2019 and now serving again on the Peer Networks board in 2022. Being part of a behavioral health recovery oriented organization and building peer support into a professional employment position in Montana has been rewarding and I am looking forward to bringing family member peer support to a level acknowledged nationally. I am heavily involved in Yellowstone County Local Advisory Council and Eastern Service Area Authority advocating for better and additional behavioral health services throughout southcentral and eastern MT. Currently I am a Life Coach supporting clients utilizing MT Medicaid significant disabling mental illness waiver.
My name is Carol Walsh. I presently live in Helena Montana where I was born and raised. My recovery led me to the discovery of MPN in 2017 through the PS101 course. I am a recovering alcoholic with a manageable mental illness and continue to empower myself with knowledge and tools to fill my toolbox. As a registered nurse, I would place others needs as more important than mine. Selfcare as a caregiver was not recognized. Alcohol was the social norm so “I didn’t have a problem”. I felt I was doing nothing different than others were doing and they were okay, Recently I have had to learn how to manage a mental illness that I now see affected my life for many years. MPN taught me the importance of a healthy sober lifestyle with a versatile toolbox. I consider my sobriety a gift from the higher power in that I started to become violently ill with every drink. I no longer crave that drink. Being a board member for MPN gives me the opportunity to be a huge part in the expanding healing roles of recovery and trauma. When we look back it may be very dark, it is our responsibility to brighten our own future. MPN is that helping hand.
I have been in recovery since 1999 and a member of MPN since 2011. I think my favorite quote has helped me to get where I am today…”This too shall pass”…I keep this in mind for everything from medical procedures to my bouts of depression. I often asked myself, “Why am I alive?” before I started my recovery journey. I thought my whole life was bad right up until 1999 when it dawned on me that my life might just turn out okay. I know now that my life is fantastic! I feel that no matter how hard your life has been there is always a chance to turn it around.
The people who inspire me the most are all my peers. I find everyone I meet are worth caring for. Because of this, I am happiest when working with my peers.
Darlene Wooden Legs-Looks Behind
My name is Darlene Wooden Legs-Looks Behind. Recovery is the foundation of my life, I truly believe that my Higher Power led me to work with people. The last nine years have brought me so much happiness and sadness and everything in between. I have learned that having a Substance abuse problem and mental health issues are not who we are and wont define us. Being clean and sober and walking that recovery path is what brought me to MPN. I have been a CBHPSS since 7/2018. In stepping out of my comfort zone, I am a small business owner-Dragonfly Recovery Resources. I continue to work with people in recovery. I am excited to be able to work with people that believe in Peer Support and their mission.
Become A Board Member!
A great way to get involved with MPN, give back to the recovery community and take on a leadership role is to join the board of directors!
Some things to know –
- This is a corporate board of directors. Not a council or ad hoc committee. As a board director you are legally responsible for the corporation
- This is a volunteer position – non compensation can be given to a non profit board of director
- You must identify as being in recovery from mental health, substance use, addiction or trauma
- Must be over 18
- Must be able to commit 3-5 hours per month for 1 year
- Have private access to high speed internet for video conferencing and regular email correspondence
- If you can check all of those boxes click application below to begin the process
If you are interested please complete an application and return it to the office or a current board member.
MPN's Action Committees are working on projects to lead the development and expansion of peer support services in various special populations.
Committee rules are as follows:
- Candidates for the committee will complete a MPN committee application.
- The board of directors shall review and approve all committee applications and appoint members to each committee.
- All members of a committee shall be members of MPN.
- The maximum number of members on a committee is 7 Term shall be 1 year in length with a maximum of 4 consecutive years.
- Committees shall meet at minimum once per month.
- Missing 2 consecutive meetings is grounds for removal.
- Leave of absences are not allowed.
- Each committee shall have a chair and co-chair appointed by the Board of Directors.
- Committee chair/co-chairs shall provide minutes of the meetings to the Executive Director for each meeting. A form shall be provided.
- Each committee member will have 1 vote. Proxy voting is not allowed.
- Committees shall have no more than 2 members from a single community in Montana.
- Committee members may only serve on 1 committee at a time.
Peer Support Specialist Committee
This committee addresses workforce development including wages, Board of Behavioral Health representation, scope of practice, and others as needed. Includes MPN Board members, staff, and CBHPSS.
Zac Cannada- Chair
Erica Durham- Co-Chair
Ryan Lehman- member
April Seat- member
Wesley Stops- member
Brandon Squires- member
If you are interested in becoming a member of this committee, please complete the application. All members of this committee shall be CBHPSS.
Family Peer Supporter
The Family Supporter Committee is working toward the development of a Family Peer Supporter workforce and certification process to support those with children in the behavioral health system in Montana.
Darlene Wooden Legs
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Family Supporter committee, please complete the application. All members of this committee shall be family or caregivers of children with behavioral health diagnoses.
Justice System Peer Integration & Reform Committee
The JSPIR committee includes justice-involved individuals seeking to break down barriers and dispel the stigma of justice-system involvement through targeted systems-change advocacy for peer support programming and services across the continuum of justice system involvement.
Jessica Colton- Chair
Savanna Webb - Co-Chair
Ty Lafountain- Secretary
Lea Wetzel- Member
Teri Trask- Member
If you are interested in becoming a member of the JSPIR committee, please complete the application. At least 5 members of this committee shall be CBHPSS.
Veteran Peer Support
The VPS committee is working toward expanding the Veteran's Peer Support Workforce and engaging veterans in the implementation of veteran specific training and technical assistance.
Lawrence Rhone (Chair)
If you are interested in becoming a member of the VPS committee, please complete the application. All members shall be veterans.