This may be one of the most demanding years ever for persons with disabilities and those among them seeking to improve their well-being in North Carolina! We start this year with major questions:
- Will there be sufficient funding in the budget to pay for services for persons with disabilities?
- How will North Carolina respond to the established concern that we have too many citizens placed, without real choice, in adult care facilities? What results will come from the investigation by the Department of Justice?
- What services, coventional and more current, do we need to minimize the need for so much hospitalization? How can strong peer support roles and consumer-operated services figure in to improving our system?
- How can we promote better connected local community assets that will support the well-being and personal growth, and even in many cases full recovery of persons?
The questions could be much more detailed as we think about the actual services that are to be offered, the reimbursement rates of these services, the need to move toward integrating types of care so that the whole person becomes healthier in mind, body, and spirit. Et cetera.
The point is clear: It is time for us as ‘consumers’ or self-advocates to consider how involved we can be and should be in the change process. Because things are going to change–but whether they will improve will be largely up to us as persons who personally understand living with a mental illness or with a developmental disability or who are trying to live a life free of a former addiction. WE are the “customers” so our voices can no longer be minimized by administrators or lawmakers or local leaders, etc. The quality, sustenance, and availability of services in the future will depend much more on the voice of the consumer in system advocacy. And we as consumers will need to help to build an alliance of multiple voices so we can get our messages to the right people, and soon!
So please keep checking this site and those of other organizations as we try to develop a united strategy together! Our futures depend on this!