A New Model for Engaging Persons with Lived Experience (PWLES): We’re growing!
About the Session:
In 1986, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) National established a person with lived experience/consumer working group called the National Consumer Advisory Council (NCAC), now the National Council of Persons with Lived Experience (NCPLE). This body was set up to advise the CMHA National Board of Directors on the needs and issues facing the person with lived experience (pwle)/consumer population, and to assist with the Association’s aim to ensure meaningful participation of persons with lived experience/consumers of mental health services at every level of the Association. In 2011, the NCPLE’s request to create a new model for pwle/consumer engagement was approved by the CMHA National Board. The model may be adapted at any of the over 90 region or branch offices and the 10 divisions. Last year we introduced our inaugural host site, CMHA BC Division, to talk with participants about how this model is working at their locale. CMHA BC Division representatives will be there to tell you about the further changes they have made and how they have made them, and, also this year, CMHA Haliburton, Kawartha, and Pine Ridge, ON, our second host site for the model, will join the presenters to talk about the changes they are making at their branch, how they are engaging consumers/persons with lived experience, and why they wanted to be part of the new model.
Bill Pringle, Chair, NCPLE has served on the CMHA board of directors for the Saskatoon Branch for 15 years and is a past president. He has also served on the Saskatchewan division board for 8 years. Bill is currently serving as a patient adviser to two provincial government committees. In another life Bill was 0manager of public relations for the city of Calgary. He is sort of “retired ”
Christine Crough is the Peer Initiatives and Vocational Services Program Manager at the Canadian Mental Health Association Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge Branch. Christine has worked in various positions in the human services sector for 19 years; the past five years has included a focus on the development of Peer Supports within her portfolio of programs. She has been an integral player in implementing systems and process across the organization to bring opportunities of influence for people with lived experience.
Jonny Morris is the Senior Director of Policy, Research, Planning at the Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division. He oversees a broad public policy agenda and a number of research programs designed to support policy, practice, and systems change. A key part of his current portfolio includes the Healthy Minds Healthy Campuses initiative, which he stewarded from 2008-12. He has extensive facilitation experience and is committed to creating collaborative processes that are
inclusive and transformative.
Ken Reddig, Vice-chair, NCPLE, Manitoba, tried to heal himself from the sexual abuse he experienced at a young age. It was only when he was 60 years of age, and had survived numerous suicide attempts, that he landed in a mental hospital. After two stays, he finally began to repair his life and work on a program of Recovery. Now at retirement age, Ken is involved on numerous committees related to mental illness. He continues to tell his story over and over to help others who have had similar experiences.
With not for: Exploring self-advocacy within CMHA’s Peer Navigator program
About the Session:
This presentation will involve a panel of peers working within CMHA Vancouver-Fraser’s innovative new Peer Navigator program. We live in a nation that tends to take away the power of individuals with mental health concerns by making decisions for them instead of working with them and allowing them to make their own informed decisions. As a peer program, we support participants as they navigate through support systems on their own terms. The panel discussion will open with a general overview of the Peer Navigator program as an example of mental health programming that is explicitly focused on self-advocacy. There will then be a larger discussion about empowerment and self-advocacy. This conversation will examine the benefits of working alongside consumers, and will provide us with an opportunity to work together to explore solutions to the challenges of such an approach.
Jill Aalhus is a Peer Navigator with CMHA and a Peer Researcher with the Imagining Inclusion project. She enjoys drawing from her personal experiences with mental health issues to build supportive relationships with peers. She has a BA in Psychology from the University of British Columbia and is particularly interested in social justice and issues related to gender and sexuality.
Tracey Brezovski works as a Peer Navigator at CMHA. She has over 23 years of experience working in community outreach with diverse populations, including those with mental health and addictions concerns. Her desire for connection is rooted in her Metis culture and her love of learning. Tracey is currently a candidate for a Masters in Leadership at Royal Roads University.
Over the past fifteen years Ron has coordinated a small mental health non-profit agency and has worked in social housing in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver both as a front line worker and in management. Ron joined the CMHA Peer Navigation team in 2015 and brings to his work a keen interest in mental health consumer rights.