Monday, 19 November 2018



Jobs With the Western Mass RLC

For all the jobs listed below, and for all jobs with the Western Mass RLC, the following is required:
Personal experience living through trauma, psychiatric diagnosis, homelessness, addiction and/or a variety of other life challenges required.
Community Bridger: Part or full-time (15 to 40) hours per week in Hampden (Springfield/Holyoke) and/or Hampshire (Northampton) Counties. Support individuals transitioning from hospital to community including connecting them with resources, advocacy, and offering general peer support. Responsibilities will also include group facilitation and providing transportation in own vehicle. Some flexibility in scheduling and access to a reliable vehicle that you can use for work also required. Bilingual/bicultural (English/Spanish) a plus! Understanding and commitment to examining and healing systemic oppression related to racism, gender, psychiatric diagnosis, etc., also required. Relevant trainings (Intentional Peer Support, Certified Peer Specialist, Alternatives to Suicide, etc.) a plus! AA/EOE. 
Spanish-speaking advocate: 9 regular hours (plus additional shifts as needed) based in Springfield. Offer peer-to-peer support, advocacy, and group facilitation while also helping the overall community/space to grow and run smoothly. Bilingual (English/Spanish) also required (bicultural preferred). Understanding and commitment to examining and healing systemic oppression related to racism, gender, psychiatric diagnosis, etc., a must! Relevant trainings (Intentional Peer Support, Certified Peer Specialist, Alternatives to Suicide, etc.) a plus. AA/EOE. 
Bridger based at local hospital: Springfield, 10-18 hours. Support individuals to find and use their voice, advocate, learn about local resources. Responsibilities also include group facilitation and general peer-to-peer support. Personal experience being hospitalized on a psychiatric unit strongly preferred. Bilingual/Bicultural (English/Spanish) a big plus! Understanding and commitment to examining and healing systemic oppression related to racism, gender, psychiatric diagnosis, etc., a must! Relevant trainings (Intentional Peer Support, Certified Peer Specialist, Alternatives to Suicide, etc.) a plus. AA/EOE. 
Resumes and cover letters for all positions should be submitted to
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
by Friday, March 4th.
The cover letter should include confirmation that you meet the above requirements.
Applications without cover letters may be discarded.

Next Peer Networking Meeting

The next Peer Networking Meeting will be:

Thursday, February 18
12:30pm to 3pm

@ the RLC’s Holyoke Center,

187 High Street, Suite 303

This meeting is open to all individuals working or volunteering in peer roles in Western Mass.

Pizza and salad will be served!

Voice Dialoguing Workshop

with Rufus May and Elisabeth SvanholmerVoice Dialoguing Flyer
A Two-Day Workshop for Clinical Providers, Peer Supporters & More.
Monday, May 23 to Tuesday, May 24
10am to 4:30pm (registration at 9:30)
Holyoke Community College, Holyoke, MA
What is Voice Dialoguing?
Many people who hear voices have at least some voices that say difficult or challenging things at some of the time. Conventional training suggests teaching people to distract themselves or ignore those voices. However, many have found that a turning point for them has been finding different ways of understanding and even talking with those voices.
Individuals who attend this training will learn about and explore a "Voice Dialoguing" approach that supports people to:
~ Explore the motives and meaning of voices
~ Re-define the relationship between a voice and voice hearer
~ Reduce the sense of powerlessness that some voice hearers experience
~ Reduce negative impacts of voices on daily life
Open to local & national applicants.
Space is very limited and sign up is required by completing and submitting
a registration form by Friday, May 1st (or until the training is full)
by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or fax: 413.536.5466.
For more information, or to get an application, click here or on the image above.

New Holyoke Writing Group - Write For Your Life

November 2nd, 9th, and 30th, 4:30-5:30pm
187 High Street, Suite 303, Holyoke

The "Writing Towards Recovery" group is guided by the framework that we can all benefit from writing as form of therapeutic expression. Each group starts with a 10 minute free-write where individuals are encouraged to write non-stop about anything and everything that comes to mind, as a sort of cleansing ritual that readies the participant for the challenges ahead. 

The rest of the group is a combination of focused writing prompts and sharing among the group. The prompts range from creative, to non-fiction, from poetry to group-thinks. All participants are encouraged to share their writing, though no one will be forced if they feel uncomfortable. While it's not mandatory to share each time, the group is a safe space where sharing is an integral part of the process. 

The ultimate goal of the group is to create an environment where participants feel motivated to write, journal, and share their words outside of the group and within the space of their own lives. 

Updates on the Murphy Bill

As of September 15, H.R. 2646 (‘Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis’ Act or ‘The Murphy Bill’) had 118 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, including 83 Republics and 35 Democrats.

Meanwhile, Representative Tim Murphy continues to make the rounds, taking advantage of tragedy to push the bill’s regressive reforms which include:

  • Re-directing funds from community supports to an increase in hospitalization and institutionalization
  • Increasing the use of force (for example, Involuntary Outpatient Commitment [also referred to as Assisted Outpatient Treatment or AOT]) which allows for people to be required to take psychiatric medications, attend therapy, attend day programs, etc. at threat of loss of freedom if they refuse)
  • Increasing controls on and limiting the use and impact of peer supporters
  • Decreasing access to advocacy and rights supports provided through places such as the Disability Law Center
  • Loosening privacy protections so that personal information can be much more easily disclosed to family members and others who identify as ‘care providers’

Have you spoken to your state Representative? Even Representatives who have already signed on as co-sponsors are able to withdraw their names, so it’s worth speaking to them either way.

Click "Read more" below for some ideas of things to say!

Read more: Updates on the Murphy Bill

Introducing This Year’s Career Initiatives Grantees

The Western Mass RLC’s 2015/2016 Career Initiatives Grants were awarded and officially began in September, 2015. These grants are intended to support individuals who might otherwise not have access to the needed resources to pursue independent projects or start small businesses. This year’s awards are as follows:

Andrea A (Franklin County)—Andrea is continuing her project to raise awareness of lifestyle and community spirit through photography. This project is an artistic and professional photography pursuit with an intensive concentration on photo-editing and creating prints.

Tom B (Hampden County)—Tom will be developing a do-it-yourself production of T-shirts with green-centered production values and accessibility to the homeless community. These T-shirts will be original works of art that will be made available in person and online.
Ursula C (Franklin County)—Ursula will be developing a collection of audio/radio stories that focus on people who identify as psychiatric survivors. Through personal testimony and documenting moments of joy, pain and resilience, this collection of stories aims to add to the complicated and nuanced conversations about mental health.
Debra D (Hampshire County)—Is continuing to develop an in-home private dog-training and dog-sitting services, expanding the marketing and reach of the business.
Sam H (Hampden County)—Sam will be building community through an extensive video recording and archival of our vibrant local music scene.
Charles K (Hampden County)—Charles will be working on a project called ‘Saving History and Creating the Future.’ His goal is to obtain, rehabilitate and have people occupy older buildings, so that working people can live in their own homes, and advance to a better life from a stock of neglected and abandoned structures in the area. He will then work to create and share the findings/learnings in a handbook so others can do the same.
Vanessa L (Hampden County)—Vanessa will be developing a multimedia project/photo exhibit (B1M: Return of the Matriarchs) as an act of decolonization. It encourages those who come into contact with it to question     where they stand in the ongoing colonization of the earth. It is deeply influenced by a personal trip to Barbados, in which the artist/activist traces her roots to her grandmother, and all of the strong black women who have thrived despite constant attempts to suppress their deep magic. It is in honor of the ancestors and the land which sustains us all. (See page 6 of our full newsletter for additional details on an upcoming showing of Vanessa’s exhibit.)
Cindi O (Franklin County)—Cindi will work on advancing her skills as a teaching artist in order to supplement income as an independent artist, and provide quality art instruction to adults in the Greenfield community.
Theresa T (Hampden County)—Theresa will work on a project called ‘Creating Healing Images of Light and Hope.’ Through photo-journaling and formal studies, this project aims to explore, document and share personal and professional growth as an artist, photograph and social activist.
Joseph S (Berkshire County)—Joseph will be working on the expansion of the quantity and quality of an already established lawn care business. He will seek to further skills in business management and sustainability.



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