The National Empowerment Center is Passing the Torch!

The National Empowerment Center (NEC) is celebrating 30 years of innovative, peer-led work in 2022. In this historic year, Dr. Daniel B. Fisher also announced he is moving on from his role as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to a role on the Board of Directors, and Oryx Cohen was hired as NEC’s new CEO. Please welcome Oryx; he brings 10 years of experience working as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and over two decades of experience working as a leader in the international consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement. Oryx has a Master's in Public Administration from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, where he studied mental health policy and the peer movement after going through an altered state his first year of graduate school. The most important part of what informs his work is his lived experience with altered states of consciousness: being diagnosed, hospitalized, and subsequently finding a path to healing. He co-produced and is a subject in the award-winning documentary Healing Voices, which now can be viewed on Amazon Prime. Oryx has published articles and book chapters and has spoken on recovery, healing, trauma, hearing voices, and peer support across the United States as well as in countries all over the world. He is an Emotional CPR (eCPR) trainer and has witnessed first-hand the power that eCPR has to transform individuals, groups, and even entire communities. Oryx lives with his wife, daughter, and son in Massachusetts, and enjoys playing golf and coaching basketball in his spare time.

Please also welcome Tanya Ryder! Tanya was recently hired as the NEC’s new COO and we are thrilled! Tanya’s lived experience with mental health diagnoses and trauma are at the center of her passion for transforming how we support individuals and change systems and services. In her roles as Director of Special Projects and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at NAMI National, Tanya led initiatives for individuals with lived mental health experience with a focus on equity, trauma-informed approaches, and culturally responsive content. As Project Director for the NAMI-STAR Center (formerly a National Technical Assistance Center for SAMHSA), she assisted peer-run organizations develop infrastructure, organizational sustainability and capacity in advancing peer-driven approaches in HHS Regions 2 and 6. Tanya also provided national technical assistance in youth leadership development and areas related to systems transformation towards recovery and peer-directed approaches. Tanya has a variety of experience working with underserved and multicultural communities. Her previous employment in program development and project management includes the Department of Family Services for Fairfax County Government, the Hispanic Committee of Virginia, and the American Red Cross. Tanya holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Sociology from Trinity Washington University and a Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University. Tanya is a wife, mother of two girls, four Boston Terriers, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Her passions are coffee, reading, running, and podcasts. As a person in recovery, her faith and family are her cornerstones. She believes that recovery and healing are possible for all.

Please join us as we celebrate 30 years and a passing of the torch by stopping by our “Coffee House” style online event this Thursday, August 18, 2022 from 4 to 6 pm Eastern time (1-4 pm Pacific time), with short presentations beginning at 4:15 pm Eastern time (1:15 pm Pacific Time). You can register by clicking here.
Youth Corner
Every issue of our newsletter features a YOUTH CORNER update written by Shira Collings, our Youth Coordinator. 
Finding Our Voice Webinar Highlights Youth Advocacy
On July 19th, the National Empowerment Center held a webinar introducing participants to our advocacy training program, Finding Our Voice. This training provides an opportunity for emerging peer leaders to come together for dialogue and develop a shared vision for system change, and to learn about the principles of heart-to-heart dialogue and practical skills that they can utilize to engage in advocacy. The goal of the Finding Our Voice program is to empower peers to transform their anger into passionate voice.

In our recent webinar, presenters Joana Arcangel, Richard Krzyzanowski, Daniel Fisher, and Shira Collings spoke about the need for the Finding Our Voice program within the peer community, and in particular among youth peers. This training is more relevant than ever given the unique challenges youth are facing today. Joana Arcangel’s son, Chase Arcangel, who is eight years old, recorded a very inspiring video for the webinar in which he spoke about advocacy and empowerment in youth, and his own experiences with self-advocacy around his disability. His powerful voice demonstrated how the Finding Our Voice program is important for people of all ages. Click here
for Chase’s video and here for the recording of the webinar.
Youth eCPR Trainings for Community Action Pioneer Valley

Over the past months, Youth eCPR trainers organized and carried out several youth eCPR trainings for Community Action Pioneer Valley, an organization that provides leadership, advocacy, and resources that support low-income children, youth, individuals, families, and local communities to thrive. Youth Trainers Felicity Krueger and Shira Collings, along with Educator Sherita Douglas, organized and led a training for supervisors of youth programs, including youth and workforce development programs, the LGBTQ program, and re-entry programs. Latosha Taylor, assisted by Youth Trainer Becky Bagley, led a training for the organization's staff, and Youth Trainers Miranda Todt and Shira Collings led a training for youth participants. The training for youth participants was adapted to meet the unique needs of the participants, including the use of the Zoom chat feature and interactive virtual bulletin boards for real plays and discussion prompts. It was an incredible experience to partner with an organization to spread the values and principles of Youth eCPR among leadership, peer specialists, and participants.
eCPR Updates
New Research Study on eCPR
We are pleased to announce a new Emotional CPR (eCPR) study published in June 2022 found that eCPR benefits individuals from multiple, diverse demographics. It can enhance their ability to connect with others, to understand what it means to be with someone who is experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis, to accept their own emotions, and to be confident in being their most authentic self in both their work and personal lives. Participants found eCPR training to be a valuable resource for learning new skills when engaging with an individual who may be in distress or experiencing a mental health crisis.
To access the full-text publication:
Full Reference: Myers AL, Mbao M, Kadakia A, Collings S, Fortuna KL 
Experiences of Community Members Engaged in eCPR (Emotional Connecting, Empowering, Revitalizing) Training: Qualitative Focus Group Study 
JMIR Form Res 2022;6(6):e32219 doi: 10.2196/32219 PMID: 35771610

eCPR Continues to Spread Globally
We are proud of the over 100 Emotional CPR trainers and educators mostly throughout the US with some active in other countries as well. Active trainers are in: Canada, Australia, The Netherlands, Scotland, Poland, Africa, and South Asia. We are happy to share the advancement of our practitioners and educators on the pathway to becoming a trainer.  Many of our trainers are listed at this webpage: 
The trainers continue to meet monthly to communicate, share developments, and ensure fidelity to eCPR.
While most of the current eCPR trainings are virtual, they have served people in a variety of states and settings over the past several months. In the southeast for Promise Resource Network and Cherokee Hospital, North Carolina in April, and the Tennessee Mental Health Consumers’ Association in June. Trainings conducted in the midwest included May trainings for the Normile Family Center in Missouri and Allies of Indiana. In the northeast there were trainings in April for Hartford, CT HealthCare and at Bridgewater State Hospital, MA. Additionally, several youth eCPR trainings took place at Community Action Pioneer Valley, MA. Trainings were also conducted in the mid-Atlantic region for On Our Own of Maryland in April, and Consumer Advocacy Network in Washington, D.C. in June. Finally, two trainings were delivered in California: for Alma Family Services in April and Santa Clara Learning Partnership Division in June. We are looking forward to continued trainings in additional locations in the coming months.
This newsletter was developed [in part] under grant number SM082648 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The views, policies, and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.