Peer Support workers and their teams around the world celebrated Global Peer Supporters Celebration Day (GPSCD) on October 15, 2015. The celebration emerged from iNAPS, the interNational Association of Peer Specialists. You might be wondering what iNAPS is and when it was formed. I found out in a recent meeting with various leaders of the GPSCD movement. “iNAPS is a 501©(3), non-profit membership organization dedicated to promoting the use of peer support services worldwide,” said Rita Cronise, the coordinator of iNAPS. Rita went on to say, “It was formed in 2004 by a group of avid supporters, and has quickly grown with members in every state and several countries outside the USA.”
Bill Beverly-Blanco, who worked with Gladys Christian for the past year creating interest and momentum around this first Global Celebration, referred to peer supporters as bridge builders. Rita identified the name change in 2013 from National Association of Peer Specialists (NAPS) to the International Association of Peer Supporters to be more inclusive of all peer workers, not just those with a certification. In addition, International was included because of the increasingly global membership in the organization.
Steve Harrington reports that the idea of GPSCD was proposed years ago but gained momentum at the 2014 annual iNAPS Peer Supporter Conference when Dan O’Brian-Mazza, National Director of Peer Support Services at the VA brought it up and it was greeted with much enthusiasm. Rita and Bill described, “With Dan’s encouragement the idea was further developed by a team that included Gladys, and a core group within the Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare Administration of Jason Zimmerman, and Pam Moore. Supporting organizations included, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), RI International (formerly Recovery Innovations), Copeland Center, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA, Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (PRA), Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, Appalachian Consulting Group, the National mental Health Consumer’s Self-Help Clearing house and many others who were eager to join the effort.”
This year RI International put on celebrations at its locations in the United States and New Zealand. We are grateful for the great work of our peer support team members and all of our team members.
To find out more about iNAPS Global Peer Support Celebration Day go to:
or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GlobalPeerSupportCelebrationtDay.org/