We are a community of persons who know firsthand what does and does not work for recovery. As such, the Florida Peer Network, Inc. serves as the voice of individuals that are directly affected by the policy decisions of the public/private mental health system. We believe this system has much to gain from listening to our combined wisdom and experience, which we offer in good faith. Assisting each other in seeking recovery and maximum quality of life is our central goal.
Our mission is to promote recovery, quality of life, advocacy, education, mutual support, peer-directed services, and participation in mental health policy design for consumer/survivors throughout the state of Florida.
A group of 20 consumers who have distinguished themselves as local and national leaders and advocates met in Oviedo, Florida, July 29 and 30, 2005 and decided to establish this organization. We have grown through the years and our priorities continue to grow with us. This year's current priorities are:
It was decided that the Network would immediately reach out to consumers throughout the state to inform them of this opportunity to become a unified voice for the entire state.
Please join us by completing the attached membership form. Memberships is free time, and open to anyone in the state who identifies as a consumer of mental health services, family member or someone who has interest in mental health and substance abuse reform.
Thank you, on behalf of all mental health consumers in the state of Florida.
The Florda Peer Network is pleased to announce that Ms. Amy Peloquin assumed the position of Acting Executive Director effective immediately. Please fell free to reach out to Ms. Peloquin in this new role at email@example.com.
Amy Peloquin is the Director of the Florida Certification Board (FCB). Since 2006, when she joined the FCB, she has been responsible for the development and administration of all facets of FCB’s certification programs, Ms. Peloquin became actively involved in the mental health recovery and resiliency movement when she worked with Clint Rayner from the Department of Children and families and many consumers and other stakeholders to develop the nation’s most inclusive Peer Specialist program. Through this work she learned firsthand how critical it is to face the stigma associated with mental health diagnosis head on and now serves on both the Florida Peer Network and The Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Advisory Council.
Amy holds a masters degree in Instructional Systems Design from Florida State University and bring over 15 years of statewide and national experience developing and administering professional adult education, training and certification programs to the FPN.
Acting Executive Director
|Lt. Col. Steve Holmes (ret)
|Elizabeth Jackson||Diann Mayo|
|Al Merren||Ellen Peppler|
James T. Winarski, M.S.W., is Faculty/Associate in Technical Assistance at the Dept. of Law and Policy, Louis De La Parte Florida Mental Health Institute at the University of South Florida, where he provides technical assistance and training in the areas of assessment, development, and implementation of behavioral health programs. He has worked in areas of mental health/substance abuse policy and program development at federal and state levels, with a special focus on recovery/rehabilitation programming and issues related to homelessness. He is currently principal investigator for a study of the implementation of recovery-oriented services in the state of Florida and developed an assessment and planning tool to support the delivery of recovery-oriented services for Florida’s Medicaid authority.
Mr. Winarski co-authored the Report to Congress on the Prevention and Treatment of Co-Occurring Substance Abuse Disorders and Mental Disorders for the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). He also completed a training package entitled "Implementing Interventions for Homeless Individuals with Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders" that was published by SAMHSA. He led training/technical assistance site visits across the country for SAMHSA’s Project for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) Program, and is currently providing consultation to PATH programs throughout the state of Florida.
Mr. Winarski has specialized knowledge and skills in the areas of program coordination/systems integration, recovery/rehabilitation technologies, outreach, case management, homelessness, co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, and in developing intervention strategies for difficult to reach populations. He is a skilled presenter and trainer, and has conducted workshops throughout the country.
I am a mother, wife, Veteran, consumer, and advocate for my fellow peers and their families. I was deployed to Iraq with the Army in April 2003 to November 2003. I have been involved in the community, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Peer Network, local Veteran Clinics, DCF, and Veteran Advocacy Councils, and others since 2005, when I was diagnosed with Combat related PTSD, and major Depression. I looked around the community and realized that there were many other people and their families that needed not just a helping hand, but also a personal connection to others who shared similar stories.
I currently work at the Daytona VA Outpatient Clinic, and have traveled across the U.S., sharing my family’s story with other consumers, family members, providers, clinicians, and law enforcement officials. I look forward to continuing to help educate the community on how it is possible to live a happy, productive, and well-balanced life even with a diagnosis, with the right family and community support.
I am also married to an Iraq War Veteran who has been diagnosed with PTSD and Moderate TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). We have three wonderful boys, ages 12, 8, and 7. I have worked and volunteered in the community thru the Veterans Administration and thru NAMI, where I have facilitated programs such as Peer-to-Peer, In Our Own Voice, and NAMI Connections Support Groups.
Events that I have previously presented at:
Diann Mayo is the supervisor of the Springfield drop in center in Jacksonville. She has been working in the field of mental health for 5 years and is a very active advocate for persons with a mental health diagnosis. She is the Chair of the Florida Self Directed Care program, Chair of the Recovery & Resiliency Task Force in Jacksonville. She is also a Certified Recovery Peer Specialist trainer and a WRAP trainer. Ms. Mayo is a member of the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Advisory Council for the Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities. She also works with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.
Al Merren became very active in the mental health community as a result of his own search to find services for himself. This search would begin his path towards recovery.
In 2006 a visit to the State Mental Health Planning Council leaded to his appointment as the District 2 Consumer Representative. This appointment speared headed his work into consumer advocacy, provided him with opportunities to train in recovery and resilience and final lead to his current employment as Peer Specialist Coordinator with Apalachee Center in Tallahassee.
Al is also the Chair of the Big Bend Mental Health Coalition, Trainer for the Florida’s Certified Peer Specialists program, Founder and leader of Tallahassee’s Recovery International support group, Facilitator and past board member for Tallahassee’s Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Facilitator for NAMI’s Peer to Peer training and a member of the Leadership Council for Florida Peer Network.
His work in the mental health community has leaded him to many opportunities to speak and act on the behalf of consumers in efforts to transform the state mental health system and improve local services. He has not only affected the lives of persons with mental illness from a systems level but also on a personal level. He often volunteers his time to assist his peers in many ways which often goes unrecognized.
Ellen Peppler has been with Lakeview Center in Pensacola, Florida, for 13 years, 10 in marketing and public relations and three as the advocacy coordinator for Access Behavioral Health. While this may seem like an unusual career transition, Ellen says it came naturally. "I started out in the mental health field promoting the service providers; now I promote the people who choose these providers as a means to their recovery." Ellen, who is a consumer herself, firmly believes that transformation of the system and victory over stigma can be achieved if empowered, educated and hope-filled consumers lead the way.
Served in the US Army from 1994 to 2008 as an Bomb Tech 89D.
Awarded the Purple Heart and The Bronze Star for service in Iraq.
Was sent to Iraq 3 times and once in Afghanistan.
Was medically retired in Feb 2008 which I had several injuries to include PTSD and TBI.
I attended the University of Maryland were I obtained my Associates Degree in counseling.
I applied at the VA Hospital in Tampa, Florida, in 2009, and have since been working as a Peer Specialist serving Veterans with Mental Illness and Homelessness. I am a member of the Social Work Committee at the VA and have been in my position going on 2 years.
Linda Rayner has been a mental health advocate for 20 years since she began her career at a community mental health center in NW Florida. She is a family member of a person with bi-polar disorder and due to his influence has become even more involved in the world of mental health. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Disability Rights Florida and the Board of Directors for 8th Hill Clubhouse.