Mary Ellen Copeland and Stephany Bryan picture

Mary Ellen Copeland and Stephany Bryan

I recently returned from Alternatives 2012 in Portland, Oregon. The Alternatives Conference is the oldest conference held by and for mental health consumers. As usual, the conference exemplified that hope for recovery and wellness is as strong as ever.

This year’s conference was packed with interesting and stimulating learning opportunities that were the best of the best. The offerings included sessions on peer support, a health and wellness fair, a free dog training service, the Arts Experience, a peer connect/newcomer orientation, a multicultural room, the Young At Heart Creativity Zone, inspiring keynote addresses, workshops, institutes, caucuses, and concluded with a fun dance party. Every day and night was carefully planned so I could experience as much as I needed and wanted to.

It was particularly inspiring to see my colleagues from all regions of Texas. I especially enjoyed having the opportunity to spend time with my friends from the East Texas Coalition for Mental Health Recovery.

The experience of solidarity, support and love was priceless. I can hardly wait until next year!

Picture of Gary Hurst and Dr. Dan Fisher

Gary Hurst, a member of the East Texas Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, and National Advisory Council member, Dr. Dan Fisher