Wellness & Recovery

Hope  –  Education  –  Self Advocacy  –  Peer Support  –  Personal Responsibilty

Short video on recovery





Advance Psychiatric Directive

DSM Panel Study Report

Holistic Health

Open Dialogue

Live Your Life Well

Mental Health – Let’s Talk About It

Peer Run Respite Centers


Recovery to Practice

S.M.A.R.T. Recovery

Substance Abuse Resource Guide

Suicide Prvention Film “Unspoken: Suicide in Montana”–  link to video

Surviving Spirit

Trauma Informed Care

Trama Informed Interventions for People who Self Injure

Tobacco Recovery

Warm lines by state


Youth Voice



Advance Psychiatric Directive

 Montana House Bill 518 PDF


     National Resource Center on Advance Psychiatric Directives 



DSM Panel ties to Pharm

The DSM panel has financial ties to large pharmacutical companies. See the full report.


Holistic Health        www.holistichelp.net

Many people chose a holistic approach to recovery, this is a growing trend nationwide.


Open Dialogue

This is an alternative mental health approach used in Finland which aims to support the individual, the network of supporters, and values openness with one another without blaming or lables.

Link to two studies on Open Dialogue        www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-alternatives/finland-open-dialogue

Madness Radio Archive Open Dialogue   http://madnessradio.net/madness-radio-mary-olson-open-dialog


Live your Life Well                      www.liveyourlifewell.org/



Peer Run Respite Centers     http://www.power2u.org/peer-run-crisis-alternatives.html

Peer run crisis centers or respite centers are a place where indivduals can go during crisis or emotioanl stress as an alternative to traditional crisis services such a hospital psychiatric unit. Respite centers cost less, provide a less disruptive environment, and provide a sense of hope much quicker the traditional services. Respite centers are not meant to replace traditional crisis services. They are simply an alternative choice. Peer run respite centers are run by peers “who have been there”, rather than mental health professionals. Currently respite centers of this type are operating in a number of states. Please click on the link above for more information.







SAMHSA Consensus Statement on Mental Health Recovery
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration today (2/16/2006) unveiled a consensus statement outlining principles necessary to achieve mental health recovery. The consensus statement was developed through deliberations by over 110 expert panelists representing mental health consumers, families, providers, advocates, researchers, managed care organizations, state and local public officials and others.
“Recovery must be the common, recognized outcome of the services we support,”
SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie said. “This consensus statement on mental health recovery provides essential guidance that helps us move towards operationalizing recovery from a public policy and public financing standpoint. Individuals, families, communities, providers, organizations, and systems can use these principles to build resilience and facilitate recovery.”
The 10 Fundamental Components of Recovery include:
Self-Direction: Consumers lead, control, exercise choice over, and determine their own path of recovery by optimizing autonomy, independence, and control of resources to achieve a self determined life. By definition, the recovery process must be self-directed by the individual, who defines his or her own life goals and designs a unique path towards those goals.
Individualized and Person-Centered: There are multiple pathways to recovery based on an individual’s unique strengths and resiliencies as well as his or her needs, preferences, experiences (including past trauma), and cultural background in all of its diverse representations. Individuals also identify recovery as being an ongoing journey and an end result as well as an overall paradigm for achieving wellness and optimal mental health.
Empowerment: Consumers have the authority to choose from a range of options and to participate in all decisions—including the allocation of resources—that will affect their lives, and are educated and supported in so doing. They have the ability to join with other consumers to collectively and effectively speak for themselves about their needs, wants, desires, and aspirations. Through empowerment, an individual gains control of his or her own destiny and influences the organizational and societal structures in his or her life.
Holistic: Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. Recovery embraces all aspects of life, including housing, employment, education, mental health and healthcare treatment and services, complementary and naturalistic services (such as recreational services, libraries, museums, etc.), addictions treatment, spirituality, creativity, social networks, community participation, and family supports as determined by the person. Families, providers, organizations, systems, communities, and society play crucial roles in creating and maintaining meaningful opportunities for consumer access to these supports.
Non-Linear: Recovery is not a step-by step process but one based on continual growth, occasional setbacks, and learning from experience. Recovery begins with an initial stage of awareness in which a person recognizes that positive change is possible. This awareness enables the consumer to move on to fully engage in the work of recovery.
Strengths-Based: Recovery focuses on valuing and building on the multiple capacities, resiliencies, talents, coping abilities, and inherent worth of individuals. By building on these strengths, consumers leave stymied life roles behind and engage in new life roles (e.g., partner, caregiver, friend, student, employee). The process of recovery moves forward through interaction with others in supportive, trust-based relationships.
Peer Support: Mutual support—including the sharing of experiential knowledge
and skills and social learning—plays an invaluable role in recovery. Consumers encourage and engage other consumers in recovery and provide each other with a sense of belonging, supportive relationships, valued roles, and community.
Respect: Community, systems, and societal acceptance and appreciation of consumers — including protecting their rights and eliminating discrimination and stigma—are crucial in achieving recovery. Self-acceptance and regaining belief in one’s self are particularly vital. Respect ensures the inclusion and full participation of consumers in all aspects of their lives.
Responsibility: Consumers have a personal responsibility for their own self-care and journeys of recovery. Taking steps towards their goals may require great courage. Consumers must strive to understand and give meaning to their experiences and identify coping strategies and healing processes to promote their own wellness.
Hope: Recovery provides the essential and motivating message of a better future— that people can and do overcome the barriers and obstacles that confront them. Hope is internalized; but can be fostered by peers, families, friends, providers, and others. Hope is the catalyst of the recovery process.
The National Consensus Statement on Mental Health Recovery is available at SAMHSA’s National Mental Health Information Center at1-800-789-2647.
SAMHSA is a public health agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation’s substance abuse prevention, addictions treatment and mental health service delivery systems.




Recovery from Mental Disorders and Substance Use Disorders: A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.

Through the Recovery Support Strategic Initiative, SAMHSA has delineated four major dimensions that support a life in recovery:

  • Health: overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) as well as living in a physically and emotionally healthy way;
  • Home: a stable and safe place to live;
  • Purpose: meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income and resources to participate in society; and
  • Community: relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.


SAMHSA definition of “recovery”  updated version


Recovery to Practice     www.apa.org/pi/rtp

Through this five year initiative, American Psychological Association will develop a recovery oriented curriculum that will train students and psychologists in providing recovery based behavioral health services. read more


S.M.A.R.T. Recovery      www.smartrecovery.org

Recently I was afforded the opportunity to represent SMART Recovery® in a panel discussion, “Alternative Recovery Models” at the Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies in Center City, MN. (For those not familiar with the Hazelden organization, they are rather staunch supporters of AA [my words] and their education has a strong emphasis on 12-Step Facilitation [their words].)
The event was organized by members of the Multicultural Association of Student Counselors (MASC), which is an extracurricular group that promotes awareness of multicultural issues, develops competencies in multicultural counseling, and celebrates multiculturism, in order to help students prepare themselves to be of maximum service and effectiveness in a diverse world. Part of MASC’s mission is to familiarize counselors and counselors in training with diverse recovery models that work for different people. All students, faculty and staff were invited to attend.
Along with myself representing SMART Recovery®, there were 4 other panelists including:

  • Timothy Keple, MSW, LICSW, Methadone/Buprenorphine Case Manager at VA Medical Center
  • Jack Trimpey (via telephone), founder of Rational Recovery
  • Josh Augst, LADC, from Six Dimensions Counseling (Health Realization Model)
  • Heidi Gagnon from Celebrate Recovery

Each panelist responded individually to the following 5 questions, to which I took the following approach and direction with my replies:
1. Most of the people in attendance today are addictions counselors, or are studying to be. What do you think are the most important things for them to know about your approach?
The “SMART” in SMART Recovery® is an acronym for Self-Management And Recovery Training. We help people gain independence from any type of addictive behaviors, whether it be substances or activities. We believe that individuals seeking recovery should be fully informed about the range of recovery options available and free to choose among them. SMART Recovery® promotes the idea of self-empowerment and self-management, encouraging our participants to take full responsibility for their recovery.
We believe that by focusing on your thoughts, feelings and behavior you can make your life more manageable. Our meetings focus, educate and support one’s capacity and ability to regulate their own behavior. Based on scientific knowledge, our methods evolve as scientific knowledge evolves. Our 4-Point Program® offers specific tools and techniques for each of our program points, being:

· Enhancing and Maintaining Motivation · Coping with Urges · Managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors · Living a balanced life

2. How do you see this approach working for people? (Here you could talk about the type of person who might benefit most from your approach; success stories are always interesting.)
Who might benefit from our approach? That’s an easy one… ANYONE! Anyone who has a desire to change and is willing to do the necessary work to make the change, that is.
Due to the secular and science-based aspects of our program, one might assume that we’re targeted to a specific group or type of individuals, but that isn’t the case. Very often, the term “secular” is perceived to mean “anti” or “non-religious”… this isn’t the case either. While it is not a requirement to believe in a religion or spirituality in our program, we recognize that spiritual beliefs are very important to many and we help our members to identify and live consistently with their individual values and beliefs. However, we believe the power to change addictive behaviors resides within each individual and does not depend upon adherence to any particular spiritual viewpoint. As such, we view the use of religious or spiritual beliefs and practices in recovery as entirely a personal choice, but it is not a part of our program.
I’d find it very difficult (if not impossible) to define a specific “type” of person who might benefit from our program. In the course of my various volunteer roles with the SMART Recovery® organization, I’ve come across a wide array of people with different backgrounds, education, etc., covering the full spectrum of various “types” of people. Again, it’s all about whatever works for each individual. There is no single approach that “works” for everyone. There are many paths to recovery, many ways that one can get to where they want to go. The SMART Recovery® program is only one such path. It turned out to be the right path for me.
3. Do you know about any empirical evidence that supports your approach?
There are many models about addictive behavior, each containing certain implications for what to do to prevent and treat addictive behaviors. SMART Recovery® does not endorse or adopt any particular model. Instead, we’ve drawn upon what has been scientifically shown to work, and placed them into a broad framework for a rational approach to change. Most of what has been proven effective so far has come from the conditioning, social learning and cognitive models. It is important to note, though, that this is not saying that the other models do not also have something to offer.
I’m not aware of any reliable statistics about the success or lack of success for SMART Recovery® or any other self-help program. However, the SMART Recovery® program is based on principles that do have scientific research to back them. There is a strong foundation in our program in the works of Dr. Albert Ellis and his Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). Also included are principles drawn from evidence-based Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Prochaska and DiClimente’s Stages of Change, and Miller and Rollnick’s Motivational Interviewing. Because of the evidence and scientific research behind these various methods that have been drawn upon, we are quite confident that our approach works very well for many people.
4. Is your approach compatible with the 12 steps, or would it be used instead of the 12 steps?
As I stated previously, SMART Recovery® believes that each individual finds their own path to recovery, finding what “works” for them. I’m aware of many instances of our members using both SMART Recovery® and traditional 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). While our approach differs from 12-step programs, it does not exclude them—or any other recovery program. Some of our participants choose to attend AA, NA or other meetings when they cannot attend a SMART Recovery® meeting, finding what they hear at those meetings to be helpful to them on their own path to recovery.
Regardless of any differences in our approaches, I believe we are all in this together, that we share the same worthy goal—helping people overcome their addiction. I’m sure we can all agree that successful recovery requires making good choices. The right method and approach for making those “good choices” are as varied and different as the individuals who are making them. Research shows that people who are allowed to choose their recovery method are more successful than those who are required to use a particular recovery method, no matter which it might be. SMART Recovery® fully supports choice in recovery, as is reflected in our slogan, “Discover the Power of Choice”.
5. Where is the best place to get more information about your approach?
Website: www.smartrecovery.org SMART Recovery® 7304 Mentor Ave, Suite F Mentor, OH 44060 Phone: 866.951.5357 Email: information@smartrecovery.org

Sandi Glenn,  MPN President


Substance Abuse Resource Guide   http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/seeking-drug-abuse-treatment


Surviving Spirit      www.survivingspirit.com

Hope, Healing & Help for Trauma, Abuse & Mental Health information. Monthly newsletter and FB page.



Trauma Informed Care     by Robin Johnson

Trauma informed care is grounded in the assumption that every person seeking mental health services is a trauma survivor. With 85-95% of women in the public mental health system reporting a history of trauma – usually in childhood- it’s the expectation not the exception in a trauma informed system. With this awareness one asks “What happened to you?” not “What’s wrong with you?”

The risks of not discussing it include the pathologizing of a coping mechanism or re-traumatizing by use of forced medication, seclusion, or restraint. Trauma survivors may not be served well by the system as we know it now because they are often times seen as “difficult to treat.” They often have co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, suicidal or self-injuring behaviors and may be frequent users of emergency rooms and inpatient services. To be treated outside a trauma informed system could mean years of ineffective treatment.

The building of a trauma informed system should be consumer driven! The consumers’ voices and participation should be known in the developing of all activities from service development to early screening to developing the workforce. The values upon which a trauma informed system should be built include safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration, and empowerment. These values must be thoroughly incorporated in all aspects of service delivery and in all staff. There must be an understanding of the prevalence and the impact of trauma and recognition that there are many paths to recovery.
The physical and psychological consequences of trauma was measured in the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) study. This was one of the largest general population studies conducted to look at the correlation between childhood trauma and later life health and wellness. It found that the greater the number of adverse experiences the greater the risk for alcoholism, depression, further violence, and suicide attempts. There was a similar relationship shown between childhood trauma and heart disease, liver disease, and COPD. This study also stated that the economic costs of trauma related alcohol and drug abuse alone were estimated at $161 billion in 2000. The emotional pain that accompanies a bill of that magnitude is immeasurable.
With persistence, trauma informed treatment could be coordinated across multiple service systems – emergency departments, primary health care, substance abuse treatment, and correctional facilities. This would require re-educating everyone involved in the service systems encountered. This is not outside the realm of possibilities – it is being done in other states and can be done in Montana.

Trauma Informed Care Information and Resources 




Trauma Informed Interventions for People who Self Injure

Trauma Informed Care Survey for organizations    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5L2WKMR



  Warmlines listed by state


The Montana Warmline is for people with a mental illness who want to talk to a peer that is, a person who is recovery for his or her own mental illness, about issues they are facing in their lives. it provides a friendly and understanding person for those who just need someone to talk to. The Warmline is NOT a crisis line. However, responders of Warmline can refer people who are considering suicide or are otherwise in crisis to appropriate services.





What do we mean when we say wellness? A state of comfort or contentment? Peace? That could be. Yet, wellness is more than just that. Taking care of the self as a whole, meaning the mind, body and spirit are in a state of well being. Is that wellness? You may have a slightly different definition. In fact each of us may have our own interpretation of wellness. The more important part of wellness is the process of getting there, or the striving to get there. Whatever wellness is or whatever it means to us there is commonality. Wellness is something to strive for. Getting to a place where we take care of our mind, body and spirit, together harmoniously is ideal. Here are some ideas we have regarding the process of moving towards wellness.

Healthy eating habits

Regular activity

Restful sleep

Having joy or peace in our life

Support from others

Living in a safe place

Having meaningful work

Financial satisfaction

Freedom of choice


Getting started on my own wellness

My Wellness Starts Here – Brochure



8 Dimensions of Wellness as defined by SAMHSA       www.samhsa.gov/wellness

Emotional   –   Environmental   –   Intellectual   –    Physical   –   Occupational   –   Finalcial   –   Social   –   Spiritual

The 10 x 10 Wellness Campaign is to promote wellness for people with mental illness by taking action to prevent and reduce early mortality by 10 years over the next 10 years. To find out more visit the website above.


Families and Trauma

Dear Chapters and State organizations,

SAMHSA’s Disaster TA Center Looking for Feedback From Parents on a guide they have developed for parents and teachers.  The National Federation of Families is trying to help spread the word.  Below you will find the links to the page with all of the information.

This is the link to the actual guide.


This is the link that will take you to the survey, where it can be downloaded.  Go to the link then scroll down to find download the survey here.




Sandra A. Spencer




Now available for MPN members –

Community Assistance Program Prescription Drug Discount Card 

No age or income requirements and the card does not expire. This card provides 10-80% off prescription drugs, with no exclusions. 56,000 participating stores including; WalMart, Target, Costco, Walgreens, Shopko, Pamida, Rite-Aid and more, many more. This card is FREE. Contact the MPN office 406-551-1058 and we will mail the card out to you.


Youth Voice

Very good youth video featured at Alternatives Conference 2011 in Orlando



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