Alternatives 2019
Standing Together, Celebrating Our Gifts, Raising Our Voices

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) is pleased to host the Alternatives 2019 at The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, DC, July 7 - 11, 2019. 

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What is the Alternatives Conference? Watch this video.

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 2019 has returned to our roots when the conference was organized by the early pioneers of Peer Recovery/Liberation Movement and was held at college campuses. Returning to our core values of being a “People’s Alternatives,” funded entirely through registrations and sponsorships, we are exited about the freedom we have to create this conference our way, “On Our Own.”

Register for the conference now and receive the early bird rate (through May 31, 2019). Registration includes three buffet-style meals a day, provided in the dining hall.

Alternatives 2019 will include a two-day pre-conference, July 8 and 9, with a Public Policy and Education Academy on Monday and a “Hill Day” on Tuesday, when peer advocates will meet, by appointment, with the staff of their U.S. senators and congressional representatives. Now more than ever, it is important for us to participate in the national debate.

The Alternatives 2019 will officially open with dinner and keynote presentations on Tuesday evening, July 9, followed by workshops and caucuses on Wednesday and Thursday. Evening events include an Open Mic on Wednesday, and a Celebration Dance on Thursday. Attendees are welcome to stay overnight and leave in the morning after breakfast Friday.

Click for Caucus application

Click for Exhibit application

VOlunteer for alternatives

Help make the Alternatives Conference an incredible experience! We have many volunteer opportunities, including being a greeter or workshop assistant, helping at the information desk or registration desk, and accessibility services (helping people get any special needs met and get where they are going). We especially need assistance with pre-conference outreach and transportation (driving the accessible van or golf carts.) If you are interested in volunteering, click here.

Honor peer leaders in your community

At each Alternatives Conference, awards are given to people who have contributed to our community. Please nominate people or organizations you feel are deserving of these awards by May 30. More information is at the nomination form.

Newer college dorm rooms with single beds and private or shared bathrooms are available for an affordable price. All meeting rooms are ADA-accessible; some accessible dorm rooms can be reserved. Many hotels are also a few Metro stops away.

There is a newly renovated Metro stop on campus; parking is also available. There are many hotels a few Metro stops away for those who wish to stay off campus.

The theme this year is Standing Together, Celebrating Our Gifts, Raising Our Voices. Each year we come to the Alternatives Conference, standing together as a community, bringing a variety of lived experience and ways of maintaining wellness; celebrating the skill, talent and wisdom we each contribute toward making a vibrant learning community; and learn to access the power in raising our collective voice to influence policy, programming, and support.  Together WE are Alternatives 2019!

Alternatives 2019 is a great opportunity to learn new skills and share your passion for recovery, advocacy, the arts, multicultural and diversity awareness, youth involvement, and more! Come, find and raise your voice, share your expertise, meet old friends and make new ones!


Workshops will be presented on Wednesday and Thursday. The workshops for 2019 are now available at this page.

Follow @AltCon_2019 on Twitter; the hashtag is #Alternatives2019.

Follow alernativescon on Instagram.

For the Alternatives Facebook page:

Alternatives Announcements Facebook page:

 We are updating the Alternatives 2019 website and social media as new information becomes available.

Arts at Alternatives

Arts events at Alternatives include a number of workshops, an drop-in arts room, an Open Mic on Wednesday evening, and a Celebration Dance on Thursday evening.

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 Spanish Interpretation Available

Alternatives will have Spanish interpretation available at the conference for those who request it. Please indicate on your registration form or email

Scent-free Conference

Scent-Free Conference: To respect the needs of all participants, please do not use perfume, cologne, or strongly scented creams, powders, or cosmetics at the conference. 

Questions? Write

The Alternatives conference will be held at the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center.Sp

Click photo to learn more about the Pryzbyla Conference Center at Catholic University

Click photo to learn more about the Pryzbyla Conference Center at Catholic University

CE’s (Continuing Education Units):

Alternatives 2019 has applied for CE’s from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). We expect to be approved and will post the information as it is available.


Alternatives 2019 is relying totally on registrations and sponsors to have a successful 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.


Check out the 2018 Conference program

This is the 2018 conference program to give you a sense of what to expect in 2019:

The complete 2018 conference program.

We thank you for participating in Alternatives 2018.


We would like your feedback about your conference experience to help us in planning Alternatives 2019. Please take this survey:


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.


Travel and Lodging Information

The Edward J Pryzbyla University Center is a searchable location on your GPS. However, if you are using an Uber/Lyft Service, cab, or driving by yourself, please place McMahon Parking Lot in your GPS as it will direct you to the front of the Pryzbyla Center. 

Driving to park in the McMahon Parking Lot: From Michigan Avenue, turn by the Basilica. Go right on the roundabout to the Basilica, drive along the right side of the basilica. At the stop sign, turn right into McMahon Parking Lot. Walk down the ramp to the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center, a glass, modern building.

We plan to rent vehicles and have volunteers to help drive people who need help around campus and from the metro stop Sunday-Friday. We will have a number to call or come to the Pryz information desk to ask to be picked up.

This link has directions for travel to Catholic University by car, train, or from airports.

Additional information about travel and arrival information available on this page.

Alternatives 2018 Recordings Available: 

Thanks to Melinda Hasbrouck, we have recordings of Alternatives 2018 conference sessions for purchase. We appreciate that Melinda did the recording without being paid and is charging a reasonable price to purchase recordings. Keynote/Plenary/Closing Sessions and Workshops were recorded when the presenter gave advance permission. CDs, MP3s, and DVDs (for some sessions) are available for purchase at

Prices and lists of sessions available for purchase are listed. Questions? Contact Melinda at or 202-538-0006.


All photography provided by Jared Chambers


Schedule At A Glance

 Learn More →


Workshop Proposals

Would you like to present at Alternatives? Keep watching for the call for workshop proposals for Alternatives 2019

 Find Out How →