HISTORY OF THE RSVP CONFERENCE
On September 25th, 2013 the Mental Health & Recovery Board (MHRB) of Ashland County hosted the 6th Annual Respect, Success, Value, Purpose (R.S.V.P.) Conference at the Ashland University Convocation Center. Along with the Mental Health & Recovery Board of and Wayne/Holmes counties, the MHRB of Ashland has established a conference that continues to promote recovery from mental illness. The R.S.V.P. conference is just one of several activities supported by the MHRB of Ashland County to develop, promote and implement a recovery-oriented system of care for the county.
In the early fall of 2007 discussions between, Consumer Advocate Patrick Risser advocates and consumers of mental health services and Steven Stone, the Executive Director of the MHRB of Ashland County focused on the development of a regional conference that would promote the hopeful and very real concept of recovery from mental illness. While there were numerous conferences around the state, there was a lack of events focused on recovery in the Ashland area. Within months the small group discussions turned into a formal steering/planning committee for the fledgling conference. One of the differences between the steering/planning committee of R.S.V.P. compared to other conference committees was the strong presence of current and past recipients of mental health services. As was stated often, who better to plan a conference focused on helping persons struggling with mental illness than those who have been struggling?
After months of discussion, planning and deliberation, September 2008 saw the 1st Annual R.S.V.P. Conference come to fruition. Over 125 people attended and the feedback was very positive. Each year subsequent, the steering/planning committee has grown the conference by inviting speakers that believe passionately in recovery and who can speak to targeted audiences within the community that are needed as partners for a recovery-oriented system of care to be realized. In addition to being a driving force behind the R.S.V.P. conference, the MHRB of Ashland County has implemented the following changes to further reflect the principles of recovery and to ensure its continued growth:
Developing and sustaining an environment where persons struggling with mental health issues can receive hopeful, respectful and research-based treatment is a long term commitment of the MHRB of Ashland. In the coming months and years, the Board will continue to make further strides towards achieving a recovery oriented system of care in the county. Please join the Board and other community partners for the sixth annual R.S.V.P. conference next September.
“[Recovery is] a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills and roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life, even with the limitations caused by illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness…" (Anthony, 1993)