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Inside Passages Speaker Series

Inside Passages is a free speaker series that explores issues connected to mental health and wellness that impact us, our families, and the community. With different speakers and topics, participants will learn and exchange views on a wide variety of mental health-related issues. This information is intended to be most beneficial to direct service providers, but anyone is welcome to attend.

Recordings from last season's Inside Passages can be found on our YouTube Channel by clicking here!

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Lived Experience & Peer Support Panel

Lived Experience & Peer Support Panel

In the last episode of this series of Inside Passages Aaron Surma, Kara Nelson, and John Drips discuss peer support. Meet our presenters: Aaron has received mental health services for over twenty years. During this time, he has experienced first-hand the power of peer support. In particular, the role of peer support in helping people find their voice as it relates to their own recovery. His goal is for people in Juneau to feel the confidence to make decisions about their mental health care while making sure the proper resources are available to them. Before joining NAMI Juneau in 2020, Aaron worked for the Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition and a variety of community mental health providers. He also has a degree in social work. ​Meet John Drips, a 36-year-old man with a passion for helping others and making a positive impact in his community. Recently completing a paralegal certificate program, Mr. Drips is now volunteering with Alaska Legal Services Corporation and AWARE in Juneau, Alaska to provide much-needed legal assistance to those in need. But John's dedication to helping others doesn't stop there. He also facilitates a Peer Support Group called NAMI Connections, providing a safe and supportive space for individuals struggling with mental health challenges throughout the state. John's commitment to serving others is further evidenced by his recent (April 2023) completion of a Peer Support Specialist Certification course offered by NAMI Juneau, as he works towards a Behavioral Health Occupational Endorsement through UAS. With his combination of legal and peer support expertise, John is well-equipped to make a positive impact in Juneau and beyond. Kara Nelson is an advocate, activist, and entrepreneur and currently the Chief Operating Officer at True North Recovery (TNR). Kara is a lifelong Alaskan, a mother of three adult children, a woman in recovery and formerly incarcerated; this all contributes to her fierce dedication in transforming our criminal legal system and recovery support services across Alaska and throughout the country.
Providing Gender Affirming Mental Health Care with Margie Thomson
Infusing Therapeutic Evidence-based Practices with Southeast Indigenous Traditions

Infusing Therapeutic Evidence-based Practices with Southeast Indigenous Traditions

Tuesday, February 21st, 2023 12PM-1PM: Infusing Therapeutic Evidence-based Practices with Southeast Indigenous Traditions (Inside Passages #4) Topic: Sharnel Vale-Jones, Yaagál (She/Her) will present on infusing therapeutic evidence-based practices with Southeast Indigenous traditions. She will draw on her experiences from her clinical training and while working with participants at the Tlingit & Haida Community and Behavioral Services (CBS) Healing Center. She will give an overview of multicultural competence, discuss her process of indigenizing Acceptance & Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy, provide examples, and close with a mindfulness exercise infused with indigenous practice. Come learn how to provide culturally responsive care to SE Indigenous peoples. Presenter: Sharnel Vale-Jones (Yaagál) is Lingít, Kwaashk’IKwáan (Raven, Humpy Salmon), Dis hítdaxáyáxat (Moon house) from Yakutat. She holds a B.A. in Counseling Psychology and is currently in the fourth year of her Clinical-Community Psychology Ph.D. program. She spent 9 years with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium serving Alaska Native people through various roles ranging from networking to rural energy efficiency to tobacco prevention counseling. She also has provided community mental health services to adults, children, and families since Fall 2020 both via telehealth and in-person. Sharnel has a client-centered (and family-centered) approach to counseling, meeting the client and their families where they are at in their journey to healing. She understands that individuals belong to many social groups that may intersect (ethnicity, indigeneity, LGBTQX, ability, etc.); therefore, providing culturally responsive, individually tailored care is critical to her therapy practice. Furthermore, being Lingít, yet training under Western worldviews, Sharnel is passionate about blending the two worlds, infusing culture with western evidence-based practice. Sharnel has experience with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Inter-personal Social Rhythm Therapy, Child-Centered Play Therapy, and Family Therapy.
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