On Our Own, Transforming the Future Together


The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) is proud to host the 2018 Alternatives Conference which will be held in Washington, D.C. from July 29 through August 3, 2018. The site of the conference is the Catholic University of America which is strategically placed in the nation’s capital, not far from Capitol Hill. A pre-conference Hill Day will offer a hands-on, grassroots opportunity for us to organize, raise our voices and be heard by our federal representatives. A special pre-conference advocacy training day on Monday will provide coaching and logistical support in educating our congress, followed by our movement's first day on the Hill on Tuesday. The conference will open on Tuesday evening followed by workshops and other activities Wednesday through Friday (morning).


Keynote Speakers

The Alternatives planning committee is pleased to announce the keynote speakers for the conference. Follow this link to learn about the selected keynote speakers.



Over 70 workshops will be presented on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. See the Workshop page for the workshop schedule.


Honor peer leaders in your community

At each Alternatives Conference, awards are given to people who have contributed to our community. You are invited to honor peer leaders in your community by sending nominations for the awards by July 10, 2018 at this link. 



Alternatives 2018 is in need of sponsors for the conference. Please consider sponsoring the conference or giving scholarships to attendees from your area. Additional information about sponsorships on the "Sponsorship page."



At this time, we do not have funds available to provide scholarships for the Alternatives Conference. We recommend that conference attendees seek funding from local organizations and agencies. Potential funding sources include your employer, state- and city-wide mental health advocacy groups, peer-run and consumer-run groups, and disability rights advocacy organizations. The Funding for Alternatives section of this website has additional ideas.


Continuing Education Units (CEs)

The Alternatives Conference is approved by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW Approval #886758713-8997) for 10.5 continuing education contact hours (CEs) for workshop attendance. Many organizations accept their approval. For people who are working as Certified Peer Specialists, your local organization may have requirements for continuing education units. Most accept a certificate that lists contact hours which can be obtained at the conference.


Arts at Alternatives

Arts events at Alternatives include a number of workshops, The Open Mic on Wednesday evening, and a Dance/Celebration on Thursday evening.


Additional Information

The Alternatives conference is the oldest and largest conference of its kind, organized and hosted for more than three decades by peers for peers (people with lived experience of the behavioral health system, emotional distress/crisis, trauma, substance use, and/or addiction). Alternatives is renowned for offering the latest and best information in the peer recovery movement, and provides an invaluable opportunity for peers to network with and learn from one another. This conference is funded entirely through registration fees and donations.

Learn More → Our Mission

Learn More → Our History

This is the PEOPLE's Alternatives: We are going back to our roots when we used to gather on college campuses.

Catholic University encourages “serious and sustained discourse among people of different faiths, cultures, and beliefs, and promotes intellectual, ethical and spiritual understanding. We embody this principle in the diversity of our students, faculty and staff, our commitment to justice and the common good, our intellectual openness, and our international character.” The Alternatives conference strives to be a welcoming environment for all people, and we have been assured that all of our attendees, whatever their faith or lack of faith, will be treated with respect.


All photography provided by Jared Chambers


Schedule At A Glance

Start planning your Alternatives 2018 experience now with the online schedule of events.

 Learn More →


Workshop Proposals

Would you like to present at Alternatives?

 Find Out How →


 Pryzbyla Conference Center Atrium

Pryzbyla Conference Center Atrium