NC CANSO is ready to advocate for and help with the development of a state-wide network of community based and consumer operated mutual support centers (peer centers, drop-in-centers). Many indicators suggest we really need these settings. They can complement services offered through the public and private systems while offering a less restrictive, open, empowering, and safe social setting . No matter what changes our community mental health systems are undergoing, we as peers can offer such environments that help our peers weather the system changes while they grow and learn through self-help supports. Such peer centers have been operating in many states, sometimes for a couple of decades, often funded outside of the system but with public dollars. The result in our own peer center has been the reduction of hospitalizations and graduation to less intensive services as people learn skills and lean on friends as they grow!
To accomplish developing this on-the-ground centers of support, NC CANSO will need to help build more solidarity among peer specialists, other organizations, and individuals across our state who understand what it is like to live with a mental health or substance use challenge or certain other circumstances. We need to make a joint request to the Department of Health and Human Services to include the funding of peer centers as an objective for using part of the Community Mental Health Block Grant! This grant was originally created as a way to help states develop innovations that prevent people from having to depend on facility based services, including excessive hospitalization! In fact, in the state of Tennessee, there are 49 such sites developed as such an innovation using such funds! Please contact NC CANSO if you are interested in learning more about this issue or want to help us advocate.
Also, let us know if you want education on how to begin a peer center in your own community at low cost that will be a base to build on as funding comes from public and/or private sources! You can already start to improve the lives of friends in your own community!
One thing about Spring is that it brings new energy to a growing group of people across North Carolina who want to bring our system to currency in its focus. We seek a public system that produces real life outcomes, experienced by service users as strengths-based support of their self-determination AND self-responsibility so they can own their own choices and value them a in important part of their path to reclaim lives that are meaningful and growing!
In 2014, NC CANSO worked with many others to develop North Carolinians for Recovery Oriented Care (NC ROCs) which aims to influence state and MCO level policies so that we actually have a the right type and quality of services that help people to recover, no longer focusing more on a medical approach and mere symptom reduction with plenty of hospital beds, but a mind-body-social-spiritual one. Because this is what it takes to minimize crises and hospitalization and to help people develop their own lives that are not defined by a diagnosis! Also, this March the planning committee of the One Community in Recovery Conference offered in the autumn will be meeting to get things rolling again for another outstanding conference!
COLLABORATING FOR ADVOCACY! A Petition developed: Participants with NC ROCS share a concern about proposed federal legislation HB 3717, “The Murphy Bill” about which we have already written on this site. It reduces civil liberties of persons with symptoms in favor of forced treatment, proposing hostile engagement rather than the welcoming and respectful engagement that underpins service that help people to recover. It also greatly reduces funding to protection and advocacy agencies like our own Disability Rights NC, our state’s Protection and Advocacy System, which has intervened to ensure the rights of our peers in adult care homes are respected, for instance, and which does believe in supporting recovery. The bill also returns more funding to medically based approaches and threatens the viability of psychiatric rehabilitation models by shifting away from recovery and back to a crisis and symptom management approach. If you share our concern, you can go to the NC ROCs google website, https://sites.google.com/site/nc4recovery/ to view the NC ROCs petition statement on this bill (NC CANSO contributed to the document) as well as a link to a NC based petition to oppose this bill. PLEASE CONTRIBUTE YOUR SUPPORT TO FIGHTING THIS BILL unless it is greatly revised or dropped.