Peer group holds mental health conference

Posted at 3:53 PM, Sep 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-13 17:53:33-04

SALT LAKE CITY – An organization made up entirely of people with experience with mental illness held a conference Friday to help those with mental illness or substance abuse conditions.

Empowerment Services is a peer-run organization, which means that each member of the group has been diagnosed with a mental illness or mental health condition.

The group hosted the second annual Utah Peer Conference, where they held sessions on recovery, suicide prevention, diversity, advocacy and crisis intervention.

Amanda Thompson, executive director of empowerment services, said the conference helps put a human face on mental health issues.

“We are people that are diagnosed with a mental health problem,” she said. “We’re your neighbor, your brother, your sister, your wife, your co-worker. You know, we’re not the scary person you hear about on the news.”

The conference was sponsored by the Utah State Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. Representatives from the National Alliance of Mental Illness, the Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness and the Disability Law Center also attended.