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Community Links: Pathways to Re-connection and Recovery

The Community Links Manual is designed for mental health agencies and organizations to use in developing and administering a Community Links Program.

    It includes the format for a three-day training for people who are in support roles, and a CD with the slides and handouts for the training.

   If you are an agency or organization working to assist people in their recovery and promote community integration, this manual addresses that need.

    Community Links is a voluntary program that matches peers or community members with people who have:

•court orders of non-hospitalization or involuntary commitment

•are dependent on the mental health system for assistance and support; and/or

•feel isolated from their community due to mental health difficulties

These peers or community members have been trained to assist and support others in developing positive reciprocal relationships, regaining their independence, integrating themselves into their community, and improving the overall quality of their lives.

The Community Links relationship diminishes over time as the person develops natural supports and becomes more comfortable in the community.

This program is based on the findings of the Moving Ahead Research Project (Shery Mead and Mary Ellen Copeland, co-principal investigators, Vermont Real Choices Grant, 2004).

While working closely with Shery Mead on this project, the writer took full responsibility for development of the Community Links: Pathways to Reconnection and Recovery Program Implementation Manual including organizing and composing the manual, and writing the Contextual Essay.

Critical Social Theory

     Both the Moving Ahead and Community Links Projects are based on the concept of Critical Social Theory:

     Critical Social Theory is an attempt to understand, analyze, criticize and alter social, economic, cultural, technological, and psychological structures and phenomena that have features of oppression, domination, exploitation, injustice and misery.

     They do this with a view to changing or eliminating these structures and phenomena and expanding the scope of freedom, justice and happiness.

     The assumption is that this knowledge will be used in processes of social change by people to whom understanding their situation is crucial to changing it. (Bentz & Shapiro, 1998, p. 146)

    The training includes the evidence based practice ‘Wellness Recovery Action Planning’ (WRAP) & ‘Shared Decision Making’ (SDM)

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