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Tuesday, July 30, 2019
2:00 PM ET

Starting and Maintaining an Effective Peer Support Group

Title: Starting and Maintaining an Effective Peer Support Group
Presenters: Patrick Hendry, NCPS, Mental Health America; Dennise Babin, Mental Health Association in Passaic County
Original Date: Tuesday, July 30, 2019, at 2:00 PM ET
MaterialsWatch the recording or Download the slides.

Starting a support group is no easy task. Between recruiting participants, maintaining their engagement, and managing logistics, it’s tough to implement and sustain a successful program. Mental Health America (MHA) developed a group-based Social Self-Directed Care program that some of our affiliates are running across the country. Participants are supported by each other and a Peer Coach while they work on their social goals and skill building.

In this webinar, we will look at one group that has been active since early May. MHA of Passaic County has been able to bring people together, but is having some challenges that many new groups face. Dennise Babin and Patrick Hendry will discuss ways to overcome the difficulties of getting a support group up and running, as well as successes and best practices.


Patrick Hendry, NCPS is Vice President of Peer Advocacy, Supports, and Services at Mental Health America and has worked as a mental health advocate for the past twenty-eight years. His areas of expertise include peer provided services, self-directed care, recovery-based trainings, organizational development, and management and sustainability. Patrick received MHA's highest honor, the Clifford W. Beers Award in 2012, and a SAMHSA Voice Award and Eli Lilly Reintegration Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. He is the former Executive Director of the Florida Peer Network and has assisted in the development of numerous peer-run programs and organizations. Patrick is a strong supporter of the inclusion of mental health consumers in all aspects of the behavioral health system.

Dennise Babin has worked for the Mental Health Association in Passaic County for 22 years. She was first hired in 1997 as a Peer Advocate, to provide support to individuals being discharged from the State Hospitals. In 2006 she was promoted to the role of Assistant Director of Outreach Services, in 2014 she was promoted to the Director of Outreach Services. She has spoken at many Rallies on various topics and has provided testimony at the New Jersey State Assembly and State Committees. She has participated on the Consumer Advisory Committee on Education and Training, Systems Review Committee, and the Consumer Public Policy Committee. She has also served on Consumer Panels and has spoken about her recovery at the Crisis Intervention Team and Screener Trainings in Collaboration with Rutgers University. She considers herself fortunate to have been in recovery and able to give back to the community that had helped her. She takes every opportunity to better the system by advocating for others to empower themselves and use their own voices to speak for changes in the system.