2019 Slides and Videos

Keynote: The Survival of the Fitts

“I’ve been diagnosed as a schizophrenic, as psychotic, as manic-depressive, and as psychotic depressive.” –Kevin Fitts


In addition to his responsibilities as Executive Director of the Oregon Mental Health Consumers Association (OMHCA), Kevin Fitts serves on the State of Oregon Consumer Advisory Council (OCAC), State of Oregon Addictions and Mental Health Planning and Advisory Committee (AMHPAC), Unity Center for Behavioral Health Advisory Committee, Multnomah County Adult Mental Health and Substance Abuse Advisory Council Executive Committee (AMHSAAC), and “A Home for Everyone” Coordinating Council.


Kevin has a lot of energy and a lot of knowledge from a variety of roles in mental health services over the years. His first experience of the mental health field occurred when he was a patient involuntarily committed to Damasch State Hospital at 19 years old. Kevin found peer support and developed ways to cope with his challenges with self-care especially self-management of diet, exercise, and sleep. Kevin eventually started using his lived experience to help others. 

You're Housed! Now What?

“The individual is housed, our work is done!” This is a common misbelief among community members and service providers. Housing is often only the beginning of the hard work. Learn how Peer Support Specialists in two programs at ShelterCare are successfully addressing post-housing challenges with their clients. This workshop will include a hands-on activity to help attendees better understand the barriers people encounter to maintaining housing, and present ideas for successful interventions. 

Sharing Hope and Resilience in the Early Experience of Psychosis

Members of the EASA Young Adult Leadership Council will describe its role and impact within EASA. The Council will discuss Pathways EASA Connections, a peer-designed and delivered website for individuals new to psychosis aimed at fostering resilience and connection. Council members will discuss the growing role of individuals with lived experience in changing the culture and language of EASA to focus on well-being, non-hierarchical approaches, and an ongoing cycle of empowerment and resilience.

Oregon Senior Peer Outreach: Connecting Elders Through Weekly Telephone Support

Do you know an isolated lonely senior in your community? The Oregon Senior Peer Outreach program is ending isolation and loneliness one connection at a time. The health of Oregon Seniors and individuals with physical disabilities is more negatively impacted by social isolation and loneliness than by smoking and obesity combined. This interactive workshop explores how trained intentional peer support staff are transforming the lives of Oregon Seniors through weekly telephone conversations.

Emerging Cooperative Leadership

This workshop focuses on realigning our attention and intention onto the seeds of the future that are growing in many communities now but aren't quite visible enough to change and shape the public conversation. It is not enough to create change at the level of symptoms and structures. We need to work deeper, to change the underlying paradigms of thought, and to connect with our deeper sources of creativity and self towards awareness-based systems change.

Taming Trauma

Tips, Tools and Strategies for recognizing and mitigating vicarious and secondary trauma. In this workshop we will identify and explore our exposure to vicarious trauma and associated risks of compassion fatigue. We will practice and provide tools and methods for building resiliency through breathing, meditation, creative expression, sound and movement.

Support Under Fire

Our panelists have been advocates or paid peers within the system they live under Oregon's Psychiatric Security Review Board (PSRB). We all take a risk being open about our labels. Advocacy can put targets on us. When you also live in a program with close oversight, such as the PSRB, risks are even greater. Join us for a discussion about retaliation and exploring how we 

can better support one another in this challenging work.

Faith Informed: Mental Health & the Faith Community

This workshop will engage peers in an interactive discussion on the intersections of faith & mental health challenges. 

Participants will explore the following:

  • How does the faith community perceive mental health?
  • Why claim healing without acknowledging the disease?
  • Language barriers amongst the faith community
  • Walk by faith? Or Walk by sight?
  • Approaches to engagement for peers of faith
  • What can be done to empower communities of faith (NAMI FaithNet)

Lost in Translation: Addressing Socio-Cultural/Linguistic Boundaries of Peer Support

How can Peer Support be replicated into under-represented communities of color?

Participants will learn about cultural barriers and gender biases within diverse communities with emphasis on Latino Immigrants experiencing and re-living trauma due to immigration push factors.

Substance Use Disorder Forensic Peer Mentor Best Practices

Forensic Peer Services are a sub-specialty of Substance Use Disorder Peer Services and this presentation will address the specific Best Practices associated with Substance Use Disorder Forensic Peer Mentors who are in Recovery from addiction, adjudication, and criminogenic thinking and lifestyles.

Addressing the Bias: Understanding MAT as a Part of Recovery

This workshop will feature both a peer and a medical provider who work in the world of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. It will offer an overview of the types of medications that are available to treat SUDs, including what they are and how they work. Amy and Amanda will share their experience with peer support and people in recovery, and their own perspectives on recovery. There will be time for questions and discussion.

Self Determination Takes a Lot of Determination

This workshop provides a candid look at systemic and personal obstacles to self-determination. It uncovers the power of self-determination in the process of recovery from mental illness and substance use disorders. Recovery requires an attitude of persistence, responsibility, self-respect and self-control. Participants leave the workshop with effective skills and a strong commitment to speak up and reclaim their lives. They also learn how to inspire the peers they work with to do the same.

The New Whole Health Program in the Veteran's Hospital

The Whole Health model is a radical approach to medicine that is sweeping the VA. In this model people focus in on eight areas of mental and physical health, and in the process, learn about what is important to them. In this workshop you will learn about the Whole Health model and how it is being implemented in the VA hospital system. You will also be able to work on your own Whole Health Inventory.

Working with Veterans

We will explore some of the unique challenges typically facing veteran peers. We will also talk about communication styles and approaches that may foster a greater level of connection and understanding with veteran peers.

An Introduction to Gaslighting and How to Fight It

Gaslighting is a term used to describe when someone attempts to destroy your sense of reality. How is gaslighting used in the mental health world? Why does it work? How can we fight it? This workshop will explore strategies you can use to push back against attempts to define your reality for you. Let's take our power back!

Coping and Engagement Strategies for Voices, Visions, and Extreme Experiences

In this workshop, we will explore strategies and skills for living with voices, visions and other unusual or extreme experiences. We will offer coping strategies -- tools that are useful for reducing distress and making unwanted experiences go away. But what about those who wish to deepen their relationship with their experiences? We will also explore engagement strategies -- ways to dialogue and interact with voices and visions, gaining meaning, wisdom and strength.

Hearing Voices Network Mini-Training

The workshop is an introduction to HVN facilitation skills. Participants will learn practical techniques they can use when working with any kind of group. These ideas are also useful when navigating our own life experiences. We will focus on exploring meaning rather than adhering to psychiatric labels. We will come together as experts-by-experience, learning about HVN's history, its charter and values, as well as core concepts that make Hearing Voices groups so innovative and unique.