The NAMI Illinois Alliance of Peer Professionals promotes the development and advancement of peer professionals and peer based services in Illinois.
The NAMI Illinois Alliance of Peer Professionals acts as a link between individuals receiving services, mental health providers, policy makers and peer professionals. It provides an opportunity for certified peer professionals working in the mental health field to advocate for the growth and development of peer-based services. The alliance strives to contribute to advancing the field of peer practitioners by communicating the needs and opinions of the group to those that create the training process, professional standards and ethical practices. Members support and mentor potential peer professionals, seek continuing education to improve the quality of services and promote the value of peer professionals as a part of individual treatment plans.
The NAMI Illinois Alliance of Peer Professionals -the NIAPP -was established in June 2019 by NAMI Illinois Board Member John Fallon, Division of Mental Health Region 1 North CRSS Virginia Goldrick, and a small group of dedicated recovery support specialists.
OnJune 12,2019, John Fallon convened this group to discuss the merits of forming a professional association for peer specialists, most importantly for certified specialists. A peer specialist is a mental health worker who has had, or currently lives with some form of mental illness. Certified specialists have gone through a process similar to licensed mental health workers, but without a masters or doctorate degree.
John facilitated this initial discussion with the hopes, within a few meetings, of establishing a name for the group and a structure led by peers working in the field of mental health. At that first meeting, group discussion focused on opportunities and effectiveness of the credential in the helping fields.
The NAMI Illinois Alliance of Peer Professionals is one of the first statewide professional associations of peer specialists in the country.By establishing a professional organization for Recovery Support Specialists, we have designed a model for organizing our membership structure grounded in the tenets of recovery, and empowering them as employees throughout the State of Illinois.
Since its inception, five Board members have been elected: President Tricia Hogan, Treasurer Brad Rosner, and Secretary Becky Brasfield, Membership Chair Pooja Nagpal and Publicity Chair Marci Brandt.The Board of Directors has had the pleasure of the collaboration and leadership assistance of John Fallon, NAMI Illinois Vice President and long-time board member, and Brett Penner, Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) recovery advocate, who assist NIAPP in Advisory roles.
The current membership of the organization totals 54 members representing all regions of Illinois.We have established a website at www.niapp.org, which is linked to the NAMI Illinois website, and designed organizational email for our leadership team.Because of the statewide nature of our organization, NIAPP meets for monthly virtual membership meetings and leadership team meetings as well.
Our organization has established a set of Bylaws and has been given an annual budget determined by our parent organization of NAMI Illinois.We have also established five committees for our membership to carry out our organization’s agenda moving forward: (1) Publicity, (2) Membership, (3) Training/Certification, (4) Workplace Trends, and (5) Fundraising.
We encourage the continued participation and new opportunities for leadership of all our members in supporting our organization and continuing to improve the field of mental health recovery.