The CAFÉ TA Center is a program of The Family Café, a cross-disability organization that has been connecting individuals with information, training and resources since 1998. The Center is supported by SAMHSA to operate one of its five national technical assistance centers; providing technical assistance, training, and resources that facilitate the restructuring of the mental health system through effective consumer directed approaches for adults with serious mental illnesses across the country.
CAFE TAC is here to provide mental health consumers, families, professionals, and other stakeholders in the mental health system with information, training, networking opportunities and support as they seek to advocate for themselves and transform the mental health system of care to allow for and encourage genuine consumer involvement and peer leadership. We believe that better outcomes among Americans with serious mental illness will result from putting consumers with real world experience at the center of the mental health system of care, and we are here to provide the tools and expertise to make that happen.
Our approach is embodied in the acronym that gives our TA Center its name: Collaboration, Advocacy, Friendship and Empowerment.
As a technical assistance center serving people with lived experience of mental health conditions, we have witnessed the transformative power of recovery advocates with lived experience of mental health conditions. We believe that recognition of the value and capability of people with lived experience, including certified peer specialists, is critical to radically improving the lives of people with mental health conditions, the systems that serve them, and the public’s understanding of mental health.
To create the positive change we envision, CAFÉ TAC shares information on the evidence base for the effectiveness of people with lived experience in the system of care, and the many roles in which they can excel. The project also supports people with lived experience to grow and thrive in their recovery through access to educational opportunity, connection with family and other natural community supports, and linkages to resources on employment and economic self-sufficiency. Finally, CAFÉ TAC is a point of access for a wealth of nationally relevant resources, connecting individuals with news and information from a host of partners.
Areas that CAFÉ TAC addresses include:
- The integration of peers in the treatment delivery system as part of evidenced-based approaches to care.
- Roles for peers in crisis services in multiple settings, including services linked to healthcare systems, certified community behavioral health clinics, or hospital emergency departments; follow-up and linkage to care; and in integrated care settings.
- Training and information for people with lived experience that want to become peer specialists.
- Supported education to help students with mental health needs succeed in academic settings.
- Resources and training on youth leadership in mental health.
- Information on the role families can play in supporting individual recovery.
- Job-seeking and employment for people with mental health conditions.
- Economic self-sufficiency, money management, and financial literacy for people with mental health conditions.
- Information on recruiting and retaining peer specialists and employees with lived experience for state and local organizations.