October 20, 2011

State of Alabama
Press Release: Mental Health, Department of

Series of Trainings Highlight Employment for People with Mental Illnesses and/or Substance Use Disorders

MONTGOMERY – Respected national speaker and mental health consumer advocate George Nostrand will bring his message that work is an essential component of recovery through a series of four trainings across the state that began today in Mobile. The second training will take place tomorrow in Prattville. Nostrand, based in Vermont, has personally experienced mental illness and the challenges associated with recovery. Work was one of the most important elements in helping him rebuild a sense of confidence and self-worth during his recovery. For the last twelve years he has promoted the idea that employment should be a central part of a recovery plan for individuals with mental illnesses and substance use disorders. His efforts have brought the topic to the national forefront.

The following is the schedule for his Work Works! trainings, all four of which are sponsored by the Alabama Department of Mental Health and free to the public.

MOBILE: Thursday, October 20; 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Ashbury Suites & Hotel
PRATTVILLE: Friday, October 21; 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Marriot Prattville at Capitol Hill
HUNTSVILLE: Tuesday, December 6; 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Holiday Inn Research Park
BIRMINGHAM: Wednesday, December 7; 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Marriot on Highway 280

Work Works! draws from three of Nostrand’s popular training sessions and features the documentary he directed by the same name. The grassroots video looks at how work plays an important role in the lives of people with mental illnesses. Addressing a variety of topics through interviews with a wide range of people, the video speaks frankly and from the heart, and has earned rave reviews from audiences for its realness. Nostrand states, “We all need something to do, a place to go, and an identity tied into something we do well. People with mental health and substance abuse issues sometimes lose that sense of self-identity and their role in their communities. Often they feel shame and guilt. Becoming a productive member of society – even in the slightest way – can move people’s recovery forward miles.”

Byron White, consumer employment specialist at ADMH, says, “These trainings are the result of a grant from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, with the overall purpose to improve employment outcomes for individuals with mental illnesses and/or substance use disorders. We are very happy to have George lead these trainings.” White encourages consumers, family members, providers, advocates, potential employers and the general public to attend. Those who wish to attend must fill out a registration form, which can be found online at www.al-apse.org or can be obtained by contacting Byron White at byron.white@mh.alabama.gov or 334-353-7713.

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RESOURCES

More information about George Nostrand’s Work Works! trainings in Alabama can be found by visiting ADMH’s events calendar at www.mh.alabama.gov/COPI/EventsCalendarOctober2011.aspx.

For more information on George Nostrand, visit his website at www.georgebygeorge.com


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