Family Peer Support: Preventing Crisis and Relapse

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In this presentation, Mid-America MHTTC specialists and partners with Omaha-based Community Alliance will demonstrate ways in which family peer support empowers families in their roles to prevent relapse and intervene during psychiatric crisis. In particular, participants will learn how recipients of family peer support:

  • Learn early detection of a crisis of their loved one;
  • Learn to develop a relapse prevention and crisis management plan; and
  • Learn to implement a relapse prevention and crisis management plan.




Jai SookramDr. Lilchandra Jai Sookram has been in the mental health field for over 40 years. At the Nebraska State Hospital, he provided psychological services to persons with serious mental illness and to their family members, and he directed clinical services including psychology, nursing, social work, therapeutic recreation, education and return-to-work programs. He is the former director of mental health services in Kansas and clinical director of a juvenile correctional facility. Currently he is manager of family and peer services at Community Alliance.

Bill BaerentzenBill Baerentzen, Ph.D., CRC, LMHP, is serious mental illness program director for the Mid-America MHTTC. Much of his outreach involves promoting evidence-based practices to help people with serious mental illness (SMI) live meaningful inclusive lives. Dr. Baerentzen has worked as director of a 250-bed emergency overnight shelter; supervisor of therapists in a treatment program for persons with co-occurring disorders; and as faculty in a rehabilitation counseling program.

Rich KalalRich Kalal is a parent of a loved one with serious mental illness. A retiree of IBM, Kalal works as a volunteer at Community Alliance, in particular on family education programs along with Dr. Jai Sookram. On many occasions, Kalal has spoken to University of Nebraska Medical Center residents of psychiatry and family medicine and medical students about being a family member of a person with a serious mental illness.



Learn more about Family Peer Support: An Emerging Workforce at

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