STAR Center News
February 2017


STAR Center In Action

Welcome to the February edition of the STAR Center Newsletter!

The STAR Center was back in Austin, Texas this month working with youth and peer leaders from across Texas! I was able to join Youth Move National’s Marieka Johnson and Hannah Raiche as a co-facilitator with David McLung and the Texas ACCEPT/Youth Move Texas project planning retreat over the weekend. On Monday and Tuesday, the STAR Center facilitated a great session with leaders from across Texas about the future of statewide networking that would represent lived experience across mental health and addiction recovery communities. It is an incredible honor to see and work with such a diverse group that includes historic and emerging leaders in the movement and in our movement in Texas. Pictured below with Chacku Mathai from left to right are Reggie Smith, Noah Abdenour and Larry Collins from Texas!


STAR of the Month

The STAR Center features young people every month from across the country who are making a difference in their communities and demonstrating extraordinary leadership that you need to know about! Help us make sure young people in your community are recognized and valued by nominating someone today!

This month the STAR Center recognizes Matthew Petitte  from Fairport, NY. Check out his story

Featured Youth Leadership Resource

Developed with over 20 years of experiences with camps and Jams, Connect, Inspire, Collaborate!, YES! Jam Activities Facilitation Manual contains 130 activities focused on co-learning, community building, and healing.

SAMHSA and Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) are pleased to announce the Capacity Building Opportunity, a FREE intensive technical assistance (TA) opportunity for peer-run organizations (PROs), recovery community organizations (RCOs), and family-run organizations. Up to 25 PROs/RCOs/family-run organizations will be selected to receive individualized consultation, training, and peer-to-peer support over the course of a 6-month period in one of five areas: 

1) Partnering With State Systems to Advance Recovery;
2) Advancing the Peer and Family Support Workforce;
3) Building Capacity to Support Peer and Family Services;
4) Sustaining Recovery in Educational Settings; and
5) Supporting Re-entry.
For more information on eligibility and to apply, please review the complete overview and application HERE.  Applications due 2/15/17 at 8 pm EST.  Questions?  Email BRSS TACS at or call 781-247-1711.


Research Update


Supporting Research to Improve the Lives of Young People

Disparities in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Mental Health Services in the U.S. By Margarita Alegría, Jennifer Greif Green, Katie A. McLaughlin, Stephen Loder 
Mental health is recognized as a central determinant of individual well-being, family relationships, and engagement in society, yet there are considerable variations in mental health and mental health care according to race and ethnicity among youth in the U.S. In this report, Margarita Alegría and colleagues investigate disparities in mental health and mental health services for minority youth. Taking a developmental perspective, the authors explore four areas that may give rise to inequalities in mental health outcomes, highlight specific protective factors and barriers to care, and, finally, outline an agenda for future research.


STAR Center Virtual Learning Opportunity

Equity and Inclusion in Leadership Networking Call

This is the STAR Center's monthly national networking call for people of color who are interested in increasing the number of people in organizational leadership roles who are African-American, Native American/American Indian/Alaskan Native, Latino/Hispanic or Asian/Pacific Islanders.

Our hope is that this opportunity for people of color to network and support each other’s leadership efforts across the country and in our target states/regions will make a measurable and remarkable difference towards eliminating the disparities we currently experience across the country.
Register now for this next session on February 22, 2017 from 2-3pm ET/11-12 PT!


Measuring What Matters Learning Collaborative
for Peer and Family Run Organizations
Call for Applications – due March 3, 2017
The Opportunity!


Up to six Peer and/or Family Run Organizations will be chosen to learn and implement proven strategies for strengthening and increasing their readiness for managed care.

Organizations designated as peer or family run organizations from across the country are eligible to apply. 

Selected organizations will have the opportunity to:

  • Develop a ‘Measuring What Matters’ management team
  • Participate in 6 Virtual Learning Collaborative sessions
  • Utilize the Measuring What Matters Toolkit
  • Participate in in-depth virtual learning opportunities
  • Receive ongoing targeted coaching and technical assistance
How to Apply
Complete the application package and send it to Tanya Ryder, STAR Center Project Manager, at by March 3, 2017

Up to 20 people will be chosen through an application process to learn and implement facilitation and leadership strategies in the following skills:
  • Group Problem Solving
  • Creating Inclusive and Safe Spaces
  • Participatory Decision Making and Consensus Building
  • Designing Meeting Agenda and Process
  • Engaging Conflict
  • Harnessing Group Memory

How to Apply
Send the completed application form no later than Friday, March 3, 2017 by email attachment to Tanya Ryder, Project Manager for the STAR Center at

Virtual Learning Opportunities

Defining Our Own Recovery: Strategic Sharing and Recovery Messaging for Young People is part of a new series of BRSS TACS Recovery LIVE! events.

Thursday, February 23, 2017
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST

Recovery LIVE! participants engage directly with moderators and each other through live chatting, polls, and other interactive features. Listen in to the conversation and be a part of it!

Defining Our Own Recovery will explore the experiences of young people in recovery who share their personal stories in order to create change. Recovery movement leaders will share their perspectives on how individuals can share stories in ways that maximize impact and minimize personal and professional risk. This session will also explore how organizations working with young people can support them in sharing their own recovery stories.

Register Now!


A Future for Early Intervention? Lessons Learned and the Potential

Transformation of Specialized Early Psychosis Services

Friday, February 24, 2017 

1 pm EST/ 10 am PST 

This webinar will explore contemporary practices in specialized early psychosis services with an emphasis on service gaps in the areas of trauma, ethnic/racial disparities/cultural humility, and peer support. The presenters will cover current practice innovations and describe an agenda for increased peer leadership and transformative change within early intervention.  

Register Now!


How to be a Creative Peer Specialist 
Gayle Bluebird & Friends 
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
11 am PST/ 2 pm EST

Peers will discover multiple ways to become a creative peer specialist. Not limited to art and artistic activities, though an important part, it involves how you dress, how you communicate, and how to be a natural YOU as a creative peer specialist. Lots of ideas of tools you can use: creating a "paint box"or "bag of artsy tricks" with unique tools you can use when you are left wondering what to do next or when working with someone less communicative. You will find this a stimulating and exciting workshop!

​This webinar will:

  • Recognize their own creative talents

  • Utilize information to create artistic activities

  • Use creativity as a holistic practice

Upcoming Events

Online registration is open for The 19th Annual Family Cafe which is set for June 16-18, 2017!

As always, The Annual Family Cafe will bring together a truly staggering array of information, training and resources in a single location where families like yours can find out about what services and supports are available, interact with state agency representatives, and network with other families from throughout Florida that share your experiences.


The Alternatives 2017 Conference Committee, which includes consumer/survivor/peer leaders across the nation, is seeking proposals for presentations. We invite everyone to consider becoming a presenter. First-time presenters are especially welcome. Learning from each other is a clear example of self help, mutual support, and the principles of recovery in action!

Each Alternatives Conference offers in-depth technical assistance on peer delivered services and self-help/recovery methods. The Alternatives Conference is interested in including diverse perspectives that will provide critical leadership in the following categories:

  • Diversity, Inclusion, and Intersectionality
  • Bridging the Gap Between Mental Health and Substance Use Concerns
  • Promising Practices in Peer-Run Programs and Peer-Delivered Services
  • Leadership Development
  • Healing Through the Arts
  • Holistic Health, Wellness, and Recovery
  • Rights Protection
  • Using Technology in Support of Recovery
  • Youth and Young Adult
  • Multigenerational Learning
  • Economic Health and Recovery

Applications can be completed online or by printing and returning the pdf.

Have a resource to share?
Please do!

We encourage you or your organization to submit a resource for the STAR Center to share. The STAR Center fosters a community of people and organizations interested in sharing information and resources to build a thriving leadership network. Please email your suggested resource(s) by including an attached document or link to Please consider sharing your resource with the STAR Center community today!

Funding for this publication was made possible by grant SM062551 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services. The views expressed within do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices,or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

The NAMI STAR Center gratefully acknowledges SAMHSA as the funding source for the STAR Center’s work and activities. Please visit SAMHSA/CMHS  for helpful information, resources, self-help tools, guides and links.

The views and opinions in this document do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or the U.S. Department Health and Human Services and should not be constructed as such.


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