Maryland’s Public Mental Health System prides itself on its consumer-driven, consumer-focused service system. The Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs has a leadership role in both policy and program development. The office coordinates with local peer support chapters, individual consumers, and primary consumer advocacy groups in efforts to improve services, and empower consumers throughout their recovery. In addition, the office, in conjunction with local Core Service Agencies, can assist consumers with their complaints and/or concerns regarding services received or treatment options.
Volunteers Are Needed
Too often we under-estimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. We are in need of a network of volunteers to be utilized for focus groups, committees, panels and expertise in telling their recovery stories and other endeavors as needed.
Consumer volunteers are needed to join the Maryland Consumer Volunteer Network, established within the Office of Consumer Affairs. If you are a board member, WRAP facilitator or volunteer in your community please join to be recognized for your tireless work in your organizations and to network with other volunteers on a regular basis to become a part of the recovery efforts in Maryland. Out of this outreach we may move toward training, funding and/or employment as we progress in unison.
Ongoing projects within the Office of Consumer Affairs include:
The LEAP program (Leadership, Empowerment and Advocacy Project)
LEAP is a project that prepares consumers to take on leadership and advocacy roles in the PMHS.
Consumer Quality Teams
Consumer quality teams perform on site reviews of programs to ensure quality in services, based on the consumer-perspective. The programs reviewed to date indicate that the CQTs are an invaluable asset to their programs. While, overall, consumers are generally satisfied with the services they are receiving, the site visits have resulted in suggestions for further program improvements.
Maryland Consumer Leadership Coalition (MCLC)
MCLC is comprised of leaders in the consumer movement from diverse cultural and organizational backgrounds who work in the field of mental health. The coalition continues to further define “recovery-based mental health treatment” and establishing guidelines for workforce development in the PMHS.
Wellness and Recovery Action Plan (WRAP)
WRAP is a project provided to consumers in partnership with On Our Own of Maryland, a statewide mental health consumer education and advocacy organization. These trainings are being conducted by the Copeland Center, the national program developer for WRAP. The training includes the core concepts of recovery, daily maintenance, early warning signs and action plans, breakdown and crisis plans, and post crisis plans that provides training in consumer-operated programs as part of ongoing efforts to increase the wellness and recovery orientation, enhance peer support activities, and utilize best practices within the consumer movement.
If you wish to become actively involved in helping improve Maryland’s Public Mental Health System, contact:
Carrie Freshour, Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs at 410-402-8447.