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 preconference 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).

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.

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.



Thank you to everyone who applied to present a workshop at Alternatives 2018. Over 70 workshops will be presented on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. See the Workshop page for the workshop titles.



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.


Keynote Speakers

The Alternatives planning committee received many nominations for keynote presentations and will be announcing the keynote speakers soon.


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

The Arts Planning Committee is seeking volunteers to help with planning arts activities throughout the conference. Please complete this form if you would be interested in getting involved.


Additional Information

Additional information will be posted at this website as it becomes available.


All photography provided by Jared Chambers


Schedule At A Glance

Find out about our conference, mission, our events, and the results of our decades of advocacy.

Learn More →

Workshop Proposals

Would you like to present at Alternatives? 

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 Pryzbyla Conference Center Atrium

Pryzbyla Conference Center Atrium