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This is being sent out on behalf of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse. The DHHS contact is Jeanne Atkinson, (402) 471-8287.

Additional Information: Pre-registration has closed but the public can register and pay the day of the conference.
Full on-site registration: $425; One Day rate: $165; Wednesday dinner and session only: $50

To download a registration form go to:

October 22, 2009

Nathan Hulfish, National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, cell: 856-220-2610


National Conference Organized by and for People with Psychiatric Histories to Be Held in Omaha

OMAHA, NEBRASKA — The 23rd annual Alternatives Conference, the only national mental health conference organized by and for mental health consumers and survivors, will be held from October 28 to November 1, 2009, at the Hilton Omaha, 1001 Cass Street, in Omaha, Nebraska.

The concept of unity in the theme of Alternatives 2009 — “Uniting Our Movement for Change” — echoes the fact that Omaha is where, in 1865, the Union Pacific laid the first rails for its transcontinental railroad, which would unite the country. “Although our movement can encompass a wide array of philosophies, we can unite around common goals: to guarantee that individuals diagnosed with mental illnesses have all the opportunities, rights and responsibilities available to everyone else, including the right to pursue a meaningful life, and to echo Nebraska’s state motto, ‘equality before the law,’ ” said Joseph A. Rogers, executive director of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, which is organizing the conference.

Each Alternatives conference offers in-depth technical assistance on peer-delivered services and self-help/recovery methods. Beyond the exchange of knowledge and networking, Alternatives offers a rich social, artistic, and healing environment. 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.”

Speakers at the opening ceremony and dinner, to be held Wednesday, Oct. 28, 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., will include Scot Adams, Ph.D., director, Division of Behavioral Health, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services; and Carol Coussons de Reyes, C.P.S., M.S., administrator, Office of Consumer Affairs, Division of Behavioral Health; followed by A. Kathryn Power, director, Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The other plenary session speakers are:
Oct. 29, 8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.: David Granirer, a counselor, stand-up comic, author of “The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead to Happiness and Success,” and founder of “Stand Up for Mental Health,” who performs around North America;
Oct. 30, 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.: J. Rock Johnson, J.D., an internationally known consumer advocate who is also an activist in her home state of Nebraska
Oct. 31, 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.: Andrew J. Imparato, Esq., President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the country’s largest national disability membership organization;
Oct. 31, 12 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.: U.S. Senator and former Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns.

During the Saturday luncheon, Judi Chamberlin will receive a lifetime achievement award. She is a pioneer in the mental health consumer/survivor movement; the author of “On Our Own: Patient-Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System”; and the recipient of numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Award of the President of the United States.

The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse 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.