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Welcome to
Mental Health Empowerment Project

Welcome to Mental Health Empowerment Project, Inc. (MHEP)! We are a recipient run, not-for-profit corporation organized in 1988 to develop and strengthen self-help and mutual support/recovery activities throughout the United States.
Working Hours
Monday - Friday 9AM - 5PM
Saturday - Sunday CLOSED
From Our Gallery

Mon - Fri 9AM - 5PM

(518) 434-1393

3 Atrium Drive, Suite 205 Albany, NY 12205

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Training

Our trainings assist people in thinking about their recovery; learning about their rights; becoming aware of opportunities for involvement in the community; and learning processes and procedures to take care of daily business, so they are better able to negotiate the community systems in which they belong.

MHEP statewide trainers will work with organizations, groups and individuals to design a training to fit your specific audience’s educational needs, timeframe, group size and desired curriculum.

Skills in Negotiation

Any time two groups with conflicting interests meet to discuss the issues between them, they are negotiating.  Sometimes the negotiations are explicit; that is, the groups consciously draw on negotiation strategies.  Usually they are not. Too often, those who advocate for change enter negotiations with only a vague sense of what they hope to accomplish and how to accomplish it. This workshop is designed to enable advocates to negotiate effectively (½ day).

Action Planning for Wellness and Prevention:

This presentation is based on a publication by SAMHSA.  In this workshop we will cover 6 stages of action planning for wellness and prevention: Developing a Wellness Toolbox, Daily Maintenance Plan, Identifying Triggers, Early Warning Signs, When Things Are Breaking Down or Getting Worse (full day).

History of Our Movement:

From the outcry of alleged lunatics in late 1800s to the birth of the Mental Patients’ Liberation Movement in the 1970’s.  From the call for self-help and alternatives in the 1980s to the birth of an industry in the 1990s “The History of Our Movement” chronologies more than 100 years of history of people who have endured the public mental health system (½ day).

Psychiatric Advance Directives:

Psychiatric advance directives (PAD) are a relatively new instrument that may be used to document a person’s specific instructions or preferences regarding future mental health treatment.  In this workshop participants will learn how to develop a PAD to use in the event they lose capacity to give or withhold informed consent to specific treatments (full day).

Assertiveness Basics:

Assertiveness involves standing up for your right to be treated fairly. It is expressing your opinions, needs, and feelings, without ignoring or hurting the opinions, needs, and feelings of others.  In this workshop participants will practice assertiveness skills that can be used in their daily lives and gain strategies to counter aggressive techniques used by others (½ day).

The Importance of Advocacy:

Advocacy is collaborating to create change within a system or agency, influence public perspectives which drive policy development. Participants will leave this workshop having  developed an advocacy plan for a given peer support situation and be provided with tools to access advocacy supports and resources on the federal, state, local and grassroots level (½ day).

Trauma Informed Approaches:

This Trauma Informed Approaches workshop acknowledges the high prevalence of traumatic experiences in the lives of people who receive mental health services and explores the different ways the mental health system can create trauma-informed spaces that attend to safety, comfort, and trust. A holistic view is taken with these approaches, from the physical environment to the words and actions of those who provide support (full-day).

Trauma Informed Peer Support

Sharing lived experience can be a powerful connection when accompanying someone on their healing journey. This workshop guides peer supporters in enhancing self-awareness and self-care, understanding how to manage our own trauma when supporting others. Participants will also learn about sharing healing narratives that are helpful and attuned to peer support values of transparency and mutuality. Ongoing support in the form of MHEP-facilitated co-reflection is also offered for participants in this workshop (full-day or two days).

How to Meet and Mingle:

Does the idea of talking to people you don’t know make you weak in the knees? This workshop will offer some fun and engaging strategies that will help you to overcome your fears and meet new people with charm and confidence. This fun and interactive workshop will also present opportunities to brainstorm about how to overcome obstacles to dating such as budget limitations, transportation, and the dreaded first date jitters (½ day).

Importance of Play:

Play is most commonly associated with children, but play can also be an important and revitalizing part of adult life, supporting healing and emotional rejuvenation. This workshop demonstrates healthy play activities and attitudes (½ day).

Burnout Prevention:

This workshop is designed to help recognize and reverse the mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion caused by occupational burnout. We will explore the causes of burnout and the use of self-care and mindfulness exercises to help keep us working for the long haul (½ day).

Introduction to Group Facilitation:

This is a skills-building workshop where participants will learn what peer support groups are, the stages of group development, and basic guiding principles and techniques on how to facilitate a group (½ day).

Introduction to Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP):

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan program is a structured system for monitoring uncomfortable and distressing feelings and behaviors and, through planned responses, reducing, modifying, or eliminating them. This is accomplished by developing a plan that identifies a person’s distressing feelings or behaviors and actions to be taken to diminish or eliminate them when they occur (full day).

Human and Patients’ Rights in NYS and Olmstead:

This workshop will focus on federal and New York State statues and examine human rights pertaining to the rights of people who encounter the mental health system. The 1999 Supreme Court Olmstead v. LC decision will be reviewed (full day).

Cultural Humility:

MHEP’s Cultural Humility workshop is designed to enhance relationships in peer support and contribute to social change by deepening understanding of how individuals and systems can respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, disabilities, religions, genders, sexual orientation and other diversity factors. Participants will practice how to use curiosity to create cross-cultural connections in a manner that recognizes, affirms and values the worth of individuals, families and communities and protects and preserves the dignity of each (full day).

Asset Based Community Development (ABCD):

Asset Based Community Development is a powerful community organizing approach focused on discovering and mobilizing the resources that are already present in a community. The ABCD point of view encourages people to recognize that their community is a glass half full of assets, not a glass half empty with needs. It is about bringing the outside, in – centering the most marginalized communities at the forefront of decision-making and change. The ABCD approach provides a way for people to find and mobilize what they have in order to build a stronger community (full day).

Documentation

This training is an in-person experience of the Academy of Peer Service’s module for Documentation. Participants will learn the importance of documentation and how to successfully accomplish this essential task in partnership with the people served. The training includes practice opportunities and discussion around the concepts of privacy and confidentiality (½ day).

Confidentiality:

This course identifies the types of confidentiality and examines their significance as a central element in peer support, services, and interpersonal relationships.  Interactive exercises assist participants to discern confidentiality in various contexts and to recognize the causes and effects of common violations and missteps. (½ day).

Ethics:

This workshop offers the opportunity for individuals to recognize the values that guide their actions and thinking and how those values impact personal and work relationships. The course examines the influences that contribute to the continued development of those values. (½ day).

Intentional Peer Support (IPS):

Intentional Peer Support is a way of thinking about purposeful relationships. It uses processes where both people (and a group of people) use the relationship to look at things from new angles, develop greater awareness of personal and relational patterns, and to support and challenge each other as we try new things. IPS has been used in crisis respite (alternatives to psychiatric hospitalization), by peers, mental health professionals, families and community –based organizations. Intentional Peer Support is about conversation. It’s about how we know, how we create new “knowing” through dialogue, and about how we as human beings interrelate by beginning to practice the art of connection, with ourselves, the people in our lives and the people on the planet we may think we have nothing in common with (5-day series).

Overview of Social Security Benefits:

Useful information for ourselves and the peers we support, workshop participants will be given an overview of Social Security benefits including eligibility requirements for both Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplementary Security Income (SSI) programs.  There will be a focus on how to retain benefits when returning to work or school (½ day).

The Goal is Recovery:

The concept of mental health recovery is controversial and has been misunderstood by people who provide services, people who receive services, and family members of those who receive services. Peer providers are often caught in the crossfire of misunderstandings between these different groups. This course provides a context for the controversy by examining the evolution of the concept of recovery, exploring how recovery is being used in current practice, and offering a glimpse at what the future may hold as the body of recovery oriented knowledge, whole health support, and person-centered practice continues to grow (½ day).

Maintaining the Integrity of Peer Support Values in a Managed Care Environment:

New York State is implementing major changes in an effort to improve service outcomes while reducing costs through Managed Care. There are many challenges ahead for those of us who use peer services and those of us who provide it.  How do we maintain our values in this new environment? This workshop will explore some of those changes that lie ahead and as a group we will discuss how to protect the authentic values of peer support (½ day).

Person Centered Principals:

Traditional mental health care has been system-centered, focusing on what is needed to sustain the organization (funding, staffing, policies and procedures, etc….). Person-centered principles begin instead by getting to know and deeply understand each person to determine what is most important to each person as the basis for a collaborative working relationship. Participants will learn to identify and give examples of three fundamental values and five strategies of person-centered practices and how they relate to supporting a person in gaining or regaining hope and wellness (full day).

Peer Delivered Service Models:

This workshop describes peer support and its origins, the difference between peer support and peer-delivered services, a framework to categorize and organize supports and services across a wide spectrum of behavioral health settings, and the research studies that led to naming peer support an evidence-based practice. The course includes ways to advocate for more peer support and peer-delivered services in one’s community that embody the spirit and values of authentic peer support (½ day).

Navigating Challenging Conversations

This interactive workshop teaches strategies to maintain mutuality in understanding and connectedness through crucial conversations in peer support, even when challenges get hard.  Participants develop tools, skills, and an enhanced capacity to create synergy that transforms people and relationships through constructive conversations.  These powerful resources can benefit team building, performance management, conflict resolution, and problem solving (½ day).

Essentials of Communication

Participants will learn and practice the vital tools for effective communication that can enhance work performance and personal relationships.  This training provides an in-person experience with material presented in the Academy of Peer Services module, Essentials of Communication: Active Listening and Reflective Responding (½ day).

Academy of Peer Specialist Certification

For people striving to gain the APS certification who want the benefit of in-person learning in addition to the online courses, MHEP offers a series that covers the content of the eight core courses in the APS along with additional skills-building workshops to ensure peers have a solid foundation once they achieve their certification and enter into the workforce. MHEP’s APS Series is conducted throughout the year in several locations Statewide and is a great way to connect with other peer supporters in your area. Note: this is a preparatory course for the online exam; MHEP does not administer the exam (15 days).