Chrysalis Pops Leads the Way by Ron Roberts

Hi. I am Ron Roberts and I had a wonderful opportunity to participate in a podcast, Lead the Way with Anna Gouker, on behalf of Chrysalis Pops.

Anna Gouker’s podcast aims to find effective ways of creating change and inclusion in our communities. Pops was a good fit for one of her podcasts because Chrysalis works to break down employment barriers, building confidence, and emphasizes work as a big part of recovery for its consumers. 

Chrysalis Pops began 3 ½ years ago, founded on the belief that it was a great addition to the community because it helped place even more peeps in jobs. Employment opportunities are a core of the POPS social enterprise, empowering peeps and giving them a different way to engage with their community. Connections in the community are a big help with POPS.

I am most impressed with the relationships and partnerships Chrysalis forms with other people and places. So much more can be accomplished this way, and it’s nice to make new friends in general. Doing the podcast is a great example of this. It is one new connection for Chrysalis and Pops! Relationships are connections, and it’s like building something strong out of many individual pieces. The total sum is much stronger than the pieces.

Integrity by Linda Hansen and Alysha Clark

Peer Specialist, Matthew, and peer, Franklin, high five while playing soccer.

Integrity means being honest, being true to yourself, and comes with compassion. Chrysalis Vocational Peer Specialist, Matthew Strickland, shares what integrity means to him.

“Integrity means listening to your inner voice and aligning your actions and intentions. People can show integrity by sharing what they feel is valuable to them. I try to relate to people where they are in their recovery, and integrate my own recovery with sharing their journey. This promotes wellness, and supports them moving forward with their goals.  While working in the community I ask myself if I am aligning with both focus, and intention when I relate to the clients I am meeting with.”

Franklin, a person receiving services for Peer Support, describes Integrity as, “appreciating people for who they are, and by being polite and saying please and thank you.” Franklin feels that his Peer Specialist Matthew shows integrity by being on time and honoring what Franklin would like to do that day.  

Franklin’s only feedback is that he would like to see Matthew more often!

Chrysalis chosen to Participate in National Study Looking at the Effects of Employment on Disability and Wellness by Jenny King

Chrysalis is among 30 agencies across the country selected to be part of the federal Supported Employment Demonstration.  The Supported Employment Demonstration is a 6-year study funded by the U.S. Social Security Administration. The study, conducted by Westat, looks at how employment services, provided along with integrated behavioral health and social services, can help people experiencing mental illness get a good job.  The Supported Employment Demonstration will test whether offering evidence-based package of integrated employment and mental health services to individuals experiencing disability earlier in the illness process will lead to employment, improved mental health and quality of life, and less need for disability benefits.

The Mental Health Treatment Study and many other studies show that IPS Supported Employment for individuals experiencing mental illness results in the following benefits:

  • Increased income
  • Improved self esteem
  • Improved social networks
  • Increased quality of life
  • Better control of symptoms
  • Reduced substance use
  • Reduced use of mental health services

In contrast, unemployment among persons with mental illness is associated with increased physical and mental health problems, reduced self-esteem, alienation and apathy, loss of social contacts and increased substance abuse.  Given the interest in supporting employment efforts of persons with disabilities, studies such as the Supported Employment Demonstration, are needed. It is helpful for policymakers to have an evidentiary base from which to consider potential program improvements and innovations that can strengthen the ability of individuals with disabilities to work. 

Kaylee, a client with the SED study, states “ working with the study gave me the confidence to go out and apply for jobs. I felt comfortable going to work because I know I would have support on the job.”

Moving for Mental Health 2019


What a beautiful day! This year we had gorgeous weather for Moving for Mental Health. With the great weather came a great crowd. Nearly 300 people joined us for what was our biggest crowd yet! Together we raised over $15,000 to support the Chrysalis mission to promote mental health recovery in our community by supporting work opportunities that encourage hope healing, and wellness.  Here are what some event attendees had to say.


“The Chrysalis Moving for Mental Health was an extremely well organized event. The beautiful course, friendly volunteers, and post-race entertainment exceeded expectations. I will certainly attend this exciting 5K next year to support awareness for mental health.” – Race Participant


“As a new Chrysalis employee, this was my first Moving for Mental Health. It was a pleasure being a part of this vital connection to the community.  The turnout was spectacular and the participation by my coworkers was fantastic.  I have been part of other organizations in the Milwaukee and Madison areas that put on events to foster the movement of mental health, but Chrysalis has them beat by miles. The professionalism and attention to detail were far greater than anything I’ve been a part of and shows how much Chrysalis is involved in the community.  In short Chrysalis not only “talks the talk but we walk the walk.” – Furman Avery, Chrysalis Employment Specialist


“Moving for Mental Health is a worthwhile event that raises a lot of money for Chrysalis to be able to offer its services. I liked mingling with others and seeing people that I wouldn’t necessarily see otherwise. I think the event is well run, and a successful fundraiser each year!” – Chrysalis Client


We’re already looking forward to Moving for Mental Health 2020! Hope to see you there!

Pets Influence on Mental Health by Linda Hansen & Alysha Clark

May is Mental Health month.  What would we do without our animal friends, of all kinds, to support us and bring joy back to our lives during and after recovery?Animals can be a very important part of maintaining a person’s mental health.  As pets, they know how their person is feeling at all times. As therapy animals, they can enrich our lives by being an additional means of support.

Pets and therapy animals can help someone just by their presence alone.  The care that is also required for their health and deposition is also beneficial for the person caring for them.

Some great examples of pets contributing to good mental health are found right here at Chrysalis. Lily, George, and Patches are wonderful examples.  

Dani’s dog Lily is often in the offices and spaces of Chrysalis. She greets and welcomes all who come through it’s doors. Her presence is very friendly.

Jess’s dog George is a bundle of energy and is cute and cuddly when is at Chrysalis.

Scooter’s cat Patches has really helped her mentally also.

An example of therapy animals is at “Three Gaits, Inc.”  Therapeutic Horsemanship Center. Their mission is to provide equine-assisted activities and therapies that enhance the live of people with physical, Emotional, or Intellectual challenges.” For more information about Three Gaits Inc, email

We interviewed Chrysalis staff member Jean, for a more in depth perspective on how having a pet has changed her life. Jean has been with Chrysalis since 2016 and has a passion for animals.  She has a Cockatiel that will be 21 years old July 4th. Jean moved into an apartment in 1998 that had a no dog rule and her sister suggested that she get a bird. Jean found Milwill at Noah’s Ark and it didn’t take very long for Milwil and Jean to bond. Whenever Jean is down or not feeling well, Milwill sings in her ear, “it’s like he knows” she says.  He is a “ray of Sunshine” and looks like one too. Jean says it’s like talking to a person and the more she sings and talks with him, the less likely he is to get into a depression and neither will she.

Jean recognizes that you have to be committed to getting an animal as it is a lot of responsibility, no matter how small the animal. But it’s worth it, Jean says, then you have something to look forward to when you come home from work, because “You are the center of their universe.”

Recovering from Alcohol by Linda Hansen

Hi. My name is Linda Hansen and I am sharing a piece I wrote about my recovery from alcohol. April is Alcohol Awareness Month. I know many people struggle with alcohol addiction. No one knows how difficult it is to have this problem more than the person experiencing it.

I had tried quite a few times to quit drinking on my own with no success. I was able to finally stop with help from those in the mental health field.
Thank you Chrysalis for letting me tell my story and possibly helping someone with their recovery.

According to Talbott Recovery, five tips for staying sober is to keep yourself busy, take better care of yourself, take it one day at a time, relax, and turn to positive influences (2019). Alcohol continues to be one of the nation’s most preventable causes of death, second only to tobacco and a poor diet. Signs of alcohol abuse are problems at work and school because of drinking, engaging in dangerous activities, blacking out, legal problems, continuing to drink in spite of health problems that are made worse by alcohol, and family and friends are worried about your drinking (Richard, 2019).

Alcohol treatment options are numerous, evidence-based, and effective. Over 23% of admissions to public treatment centers are due to alcohol abuse, the highest percentage of such admissions. There is no one-size-fits-all standard of treatment and many people need a combination of approaches to address underlying causes of their alcoholism (, 2011).   At least one-third of alcoholics fully recover. Using prescription drugs to combat alcohol dependency, in combination with treatment, boost the recovery success rate to 50% (, 2011).  

At the end of the day, recovery from an alcohol is not just about staying sober. It is about reinventing your life so that you find peace and other benefits of quitting alcohol (Keller, 2018).

References: (2011, December 23). Statistics & Information on Alcoholism & Addiction Treatment Help. Retrieved from

Keller, Amy. (2018, May 24). Alcohol Recovery. Retrieved from (2011). Addiction & Recovery: The Stats. Retrieved from

Richard, Patti. (2019). 2018 Alcoholism Statistics You Need to Know. Retrieved from

Talbott Recovery. (2019). 5 Tips for Staying Alcohol-Free During the Winter. Retrieved from resources/alcoholism-and-drug-abuse-articles/5-tips-for-staying-alcohol-free-during-the-winter/.

2018 – Supported Employment Year in Review

If you ask anyone on the IPS team to define success for this program, you’d probably get a lot of different kinds of answers. Is it the number of clients who found jobs? Is it hearing a story of a client who’s mental health was improved after starting work? What about a client who overcame a really tough situation while maintaining their job? Or maybe it’s making a strong partnership with an employer in our community?

Luckily, we don’t have to pick just one answer! The IPS Team set goals for 2018 and we’re excited to share our success in each of them!

  1. Client Hires – Every year, the IPS team has supported more clients than the year before. This also means that we’ve supported more clients in finding work. In 2016 – 48 clients were hired in new jobs. In 2017 – that number rose to 86! In 2018 – 115 was the number to shoot for! We knew this was going to be a lofty goal, but we were confident that our clients would experience this level of success. The year really started off on the right foot…our first job hire was on January 1st, 2018! And we didn’t slow down from there. The IPS Team supported 130 job hires in total!
  2. Employer Partnerships – One of the IPS model’s principles is “Systematic Job Development” which means that Employment Specialists spend time visiting local employers to learn about their hiring needs. We perform job development based on clients’ preferences and the goal is to build relationships with employers that can help to support our clients in their vocational goals. But the IPS team didn’t want to stop there, we had a goal of sitting down with 6 employers that were interested in building a stronger partnership. We certainly succeeded and built relationships with Culinary Creations, The City of Madison and Exact Sciences to name a few! These businesses have not only hired clients, but have offered to perform mock interviews, sat down with staff to give more in depth information on their HR processes, and have continued to be strong partners to our program. We’re excited to see who we’ll connect with this year!
  3. Another goal of our team was to increase staff self-care. This is a goal that we plan on having every year as we know it’s that important! Some of the ways we practiced this was to prioritize staff check-ins during meetings, dedicate monthly meetings to evaluating the IPS program, getting out of the office for quarterly breakfasts and enjoying staff lunches together. After working out in the community with our clients, it was great to catch up with other staff, and we enjoyed strengthening our Chrysalis Community!

We can’t wait to see what goals we can tackle in 2019. A few other notable awesomes:

  • The IPS team grew by 3! We’re excited to welcome Ashna, Furman and Jenny to the team! Look out for a spotlight on Facebook introducing these new staff.
  • The Supported Employment Demonstration enrolled 39 new clients into the IPS program.
  • The IPS Team was presented with The Exemplary Fidelity Award at the WI IPS Learning Collaborative Annual Meeting. It was great to be recognized for reaching exemplary status in our last Fidelity Review.

Happy 2019!

The Chrysalis Supported Employment Team

Chrysalis 2018 Success Celebration

Chrysalis had their 4th annual Success Celebration on November 30th, 2018. This year’s celebration was held at a new location, the Goodman Community Center. With the new looks, came new ideas.

Each table had a flower vase centerpiece from the For the One Who Finds Me campaign. This campaign revolves around putting flowers throughout the community in places for others to find them and then pass them along to someone else. #fortheonewhofindsme

Along with the new flowers, came new crafts. This year’s successes were honored by participants, staff, and community members writing their successes on pre-dyed Popsicle sticks, with the result of a collaborative art piece on canvas. The new art will be hung in the Chrysalis office.

This year’s celebration was catered for the first time by Working Class Catering and all who attended enjoyed lasagna. Program updates, including Peer Support, Consumer Advisory Committee, Social Butterfly, Change Team, IPS, and Chrysalis Pops were given. Along with the idea of new, also came new awards. Participant Pam was given the first annual Chrysalis Achievement Award and her employer Julia from Culinary Creations through Catholic Multicultural Center was awarded Employer of the Year.


This year’s Success Celebration was a HUGE SUCCESS! Thank you to everyone who joined us and participated in sharing the many success Chrysalis has had over the 2018 year.

Last Days in Japan: Tokyo

Our time in Japan is coming to an end. We are here in Tokyo to enjoy the sites and have one last meeting. We had the great privilege to talk with Dr. Ito and his staff at the National Institute of Mental Health of Japan and his staff about the benefits of incorporating peer specialists within mental health programs. I also had the opportunity to talk to different employment specialist and multiple researchers looking at the IPS model. The conversation was great. The staff were all excited about incorporating recovery models into their practice.

The next days we had the opportunity to explore Tokyo a bit more. Below are some photos from a couple of the sites! All in all the trip has been great. I learned a lot and I look forward to bring the information back to Chrysalis and the rest of the mental health community in Madison. Tomorrow back in the air and back to Madison.


Visiting with Dr. Ito and his staff.

Visiting with Dr. Ito and his staff.

Sushi from Tushkiji Fish Market.

Sushi from Tushkiji Fish Market.

We had the opportunity to see a Kabuki play, a classical Japanese theatre.

We had the opportunity to see a Kabuki play, a classical Japanese theatre.

Day 4 & 5: Obihiro

Our last days in Obihiro were spent visiting Miyajima Farms, a cooperative community just under an hour outside of Obihiro. The farm was started by a Nozomu Miyajima who got his dairy science degree in Madison and worked in a farm just outside of the city. His farm has award winning cheeses (that we luckily got to sample)! The community is very welcoming to people with disabilities and is seen as a therapeutic setting. You could really feel the healing energy just being there for a few hours. After the visit a few Madison folks and OE hospital staff checked out a local Onsen (Japanese natural hot spring). Later that evening we enjoyed a great goodbye dinner. The next day we left for Tokyo. 

Miyajima Farms. The setting was beautiful!

Miyajima Farms. The setting was beautiful!


Brown Swiss milk cows.

Brown Swiss milk cows.


So delicious.

So delicious.


Our trip the local Onsen.

Our trip the local Onsen.


Japanese breakfasts are a piece of art.

Japanese breakfasts are a piece of art.