PO Box 33128, Portland, OR 97292

Supporting Mental Health Using GPS Group Peer Support: A Trauma-Responsive, Strengths-based Support Group Model

GPS INTRODUCTION PRESENTATION                                              

Supporting Mental Health Using GPS Group Peer Support: A Trauma-Responsive, Strengths-based Support Group Model

If you run support groups or provide group education, GPS may be right for your population!

Please join us on Tuesday, Feb 12 11:30 am – 12:30 pm for a free webinar. Click here to register now. 


For those in need, there are many challenges in accessing quality mental health care and impactful psycho-social education. Individual barriers of stigma, fear and shame keep many isolated. The lack of knowledgeable, culturally appropriate and community-based mental health care can also make it very difficult to get the critical care they need at a very vulnerable time.  If parents have additional challenges including struggling with addiction and recovery, incarceration, pregnancy or infant loss, parenting children with health concerns and special needs, poverty, racism, access to culturally responsive support, or other added challenges, then finding compassionate, specialized care is even more important…and more difficult.

Specialized support groups led by trained professionals in the community can provide effective group treatment for individuals with unique challenges. Support groups are effective in diminishing isolation; both a cause and symptom of depression and anxiety, providing supportive psycho-education and empowering people to develop strategies for improved functioning and recovery.  High quality support groups can also fill necessary gaps in mental health services and provide non-stigmatizing care in community-based settings, therefore supporting, not only individuals, but providers as well.

GPS is an approach that can make any group treatment more impactful. GPS is a trauma-responsive group model, integrating evidence-based therapeutic modalities, such as CBT, IPT and MBSR. It is both a replicable model, ensuring a consistent experience for both participants and facilitators, as well as being culturally adaptable in order to meet the specific needs of the community it serves. It has been successfully implemented across the U.S. in programs that serve parents including mothers struggling with PMADs (Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders), opioid dependency and recovery, bereavement, teen mothers, and parents engaged with Early Intervention, Head Start and Child Protective Services.  It is being used in medical and mental health settings, as well as community-based programs, educational settings, faith-based communities and in the languages of the people being served.

In this presentation with the founders of GPS, providers will learn about the key elements of the GPS model which have led to its success, such as its consistency and adaptability, the integration of SAMHSA’s trauma-informed group practices, and the diverse populations GPS can serve with this inclusive and transformative group model.

Register by clicking here. You will be redirected to a simple Go to Meeting registration form.




“What I love about the GPS Group Model is its structure and adaptability. We can add curricula and content appropriate for the women we work with and still have the benefit of a consistent model that creates safety and allows sharing to go deeper. It also gives the facilitators a structure to follow that works every time. Our goal is to use it in all our groups now.”

Debra Bercuvitz — Coordinator, Perinatal Substance Use Initiative Division of Pregnancy, Infancy, and Early Childhood Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition, MA Department of Public Health.  Former Director of FRESH Start, a recovery and parenting program for pregnant and postpartum moms.



Annette Cycon, LCSW, has been a social worker, group facilitator and trainer for over 30 years. As the Founder and former Director of Training of MotherWoman, over 17 years, she developed programs and is well known as an advocate for mothers and a trainer in Perinatal Mood Disorders, particularly regarding the impact of structural social justice issues such as poverty, race and culture on maternal mental health.  She is currently the Founder/Director of GPS Group Peer Support a national organization leading non-profits and state entities in implementation of GPS, an evidence-based group model which she developed with Liz Friedman. GPS is being implemented across a spectrum of lived experiences, including incarceration, addiction/recovery, bereavement, homelessness, and those targeted by discrimination.  Cycon, is proud that GPS is also being used successfully with men, in faith-based communities, with vulnerable students in both high school and college, as well as in women’s health programs in Guatemala.


Liz Friedman, MFA sits on the MA Commission on the Status of Women and MA Postpartum Depression Commission, is on the Advisory Boards of MA PPD Fund and It Takes A Village, and has been involved in successful campaigns to pass Massachusetts’ legislation including PPD, Paid Sick Time, Paid Family Leave, Equitable Disability Insurance and Pregnant Workers Fairness Act which she led to passage. She is an associate at Effie’s Grace with Jamie Belsito, and focuses on maternal-child health policy. In her past role as Program Director and founder of MotherWoman’s Perinatal Mental Health Initiative she, with Annette Cycon, developed the MotherWoman support group model and is currently co-founder/co-director of GPS Group Peer Support, a national organization leading communities, non-profits and state-entities in implementation of evidence-based group mental health care across a spectrum of lived experiences including incarceration, addiction/recovery, and those targeted by immigration discrimination. She is founder of We Stand Together, a new initiative addressing hate crimes and building solidarity. In 2010, she received the Ted Women’s Award for her outstanding work on behalf of mothers.