12th U.P. Recovery Conference explores the “Magic of Hope”

MARQUETTE — The 12th annual U.P. Recovery Conference was held Tuesday in the University Center at Northern Michigan University.

About 100 people from all over the Upper Peninsula, and even several from Lansing, met to attend workshops designed to strengthen the ongoing recovery movement, as well as network with peers.

The conference is made possible through grants provided by NorthCare Network and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The theme of this year’s conference was “the Magic of Hope,” which focuses on breaking the stigma that surrounds mental illness, substance abuse and any other type of recovery.

“Each of us has the magic inside of us to make everybody better and to help understand each other and to be nicer and kinder to each other no matter what,” said Philip Hefner-Gardiepy, training coordinator for Northpointe Healthcare Systems in Kingsford and this year’s keynote speaker.

“Sometimes, we look at people with mental illness as a scary thing, especially with all of the publicity in the paper, but you know, most of us lead normal lives,” said Fran Mackay, a certified peer support specialist and chairperson of the U.P. Recovery Conference.

New to this year’s conference was a workshop about how to aid veterans through life after service.

If you missed this year’s conference, there are plans for a 13th U.P. Recovery Conference.