The 25th annual Alternatives conference, the oldest national mental health conference organized by and for mental health consumers/survivors, will be held October 26-30, 2011, at the Caribe Royale Orlando, 8101 World Center Drive, Orlando, FL 32821.
The theme of Alternatives 2011 is “Coming Home: Creating Our Own Communities of Wellness and Recovery.” “This theme reflects the desire for community by individuals with psychiatric histories of every age and every walk of life – that is, we who have been disenfranchised and marginalized by a society that discriminates against those whom it defines as ‘other,’ ” said Joseph Rogers, executive director of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, which is organizing the conference.
“We have chosen Florida for the conference, not only because of the state’s natural beauty and warm climate, which have made it a center of tourism, but because it is a fitting place to celebrate diversity. People of many different ethnic and racial groups have established themselves there, and all of these groups have enriched the state’s culture.”
Each Alternatives conference offers in-depth technical assistance on peer-delivered services and self-help/recovery methods. When asked “one thing I learned that I will incorporate into my life and/or my work,” one earlier Alternatives attendee responded, “We can influence the direction of the future.” Beyond the exchange of knowledge and networking, Alternatives offers a rich social and healing environment, in which the arts play a large role.
The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse http://www.mhselfhelp.org is a consumer-run national technical assistance center funded by the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is also helping to sponsor the conference.