Focus: Peers at the Center of New Approaches to Coordinated Care

It’s no secret that we live in an extraordinarily dynamic moment for behavioral health, and the healthcare system in general. Major changes to healthcare laws, including the Affordable Care Act and mental health parity legislation, have opened up access to behavioral health care. At the same time, the value of lived experience as a professional qualification continues to gain momentum.

In its latest Focus, CAFE TAC examines the trends that are pushing behavioral health and physical health together. Traditional healthcare systems are changing to meet the need to address behavioral health. Peer specialists and people with lived experience are becoming increasingly involved in providing care. What will the role of the lived experience workforce be in this new healthcare landscape? Check out this Focus for a glimpse of what the future may hold.

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Recovery Stories – Episode 7: A Message to the Outside World

The CAFE TA Center is pleased to release the seventh and final video in its Recovery Stories series. In this segment, people with lived experience speak out about what they think the world needs to know about recovery. While recovery is a familiar concept for people in the peer support movement, those outside the behavioral health community might not understand the value and effectiveness of the recovery model, and how the notion of recovery can provide the hope and empowerment that more traditional treatment approaches lack.

The individuals in this video have a clear message for their communities: mental health  impacts everyone, people with mental health diagnoses are people with hopes and dreams that deserve the same recognition of their humanity as anyone else, and recovery works because at its root, it’s about hope.

We hope you have enjoyed our Recovery Stories video series. Remember, all seven videos in the series are available here on our website. Feel free to share them with families, providers and advocates in your community, to help them better understand what recovery means to you!

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Recovery Stories – Episode 6: The Stigma of Mental Illness

For people with a behavioral health diagnosis, the reality of stigma is all too familiar. They know from first hand experience how people react to finding out that someone they know has a mental health diagnosis. Individuals forget that they are dealing with a person, and begin to think in terms of negative stereotypes that work to define people with mental health needs as “other,” “abnormal” or “one of those people.”

In the sixth installment of the Recovery Stories series, people with lived experience talk about how they have dealt with stigma, and how it works to separate people with behavioral health diagnoses from the so-called “normal” people. The message shared by these individuals is that people with lived experience are people first, and deserve to be recognized for their humanity, not for their diagnoses. Please take a moment to listen to their thoughts, stories and insights, and share them to help break the grip of stigma in your community.

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Make Your Voice Heard through Boards, Committees and Councils

One of the goals of the mental health consumer movement is to change the system. People with lived experience want a more compassionate system of care, that sees people with mental health challenges as experts in their own lives, relies on recovery principles, and considers the strengths of an individual as a whole person, instead of the limitations associated with their mental health status.

One way that individuals can help to bring about changes in the mental health system of care is to participate on boards, committees and councils that provide a channel for outside input for providers, agencies and other stakeholders. Fortunately, opportunities have grown, and mental health consumers have increasingly become participants in the conversation about the mental health system over recent decades. Nonetheless, it can still be difficult for individuals to speak out and become active participants in groups that help to shape the future of behavioral health care.

In a new Focus newsletter, The CAFE TA Center shares some advice on how individuals with lived experience can successfully participate on boards, committees and councils. The process can be intimidating for those that are new to advocacy, but it’s critical that people with lived experience play a central role in shaping the system of care. If you would like some tips on how to get engaged, please check out our new Focus, People with Lived Experience Serving on Boards, Committees and Councils.

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Recovery Stories – Episode 5: The Medical Model & Resistance to Recovery

In the fifth installment of Recovery Stories, people with lived experience respond to the question “What would it take for the recovery model to truly take hold?”

Before the concept of recovery evolved, many individuals’ experience of treatment left them feeling that they were fundamentally broken, and that their only recourse would be a lifetime of medication, with little hope for a positive quality of life. The people whose voices are gathered here have experienced how recovery can re-shape the way they relate to themselves and the world. They have some thoughts on how focusing on strengths and including peer support as part of treatment can give others with mental health needs hope, and a renewed sense of possibility for the future.

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