What Have We Done?

NC CANSO has become a strong and respected voice in our state.   We focus our advocacy and information on efforts to help our state grow beyond old assumptions about the value of and opportunities for persons with mental illness, addiction challenges, or intellectual/ developmental disabilities, and dual diagnoses.  We also challenge and encourage each other to reclaim authority over our lives and to live more assertively, dignifying our roles as citizens in our communities.  We advocate to State leadership and legislators for more effective and efficient consumer-informed system development.  Here are some of our accomplishments within its first three years.

  • NC CANSO spearheaded the development of routine meetings with leadership from the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services.  Members participated in the development of a process to include more consumers and family members on department workgroups.
  •  We helped to prevent the State Board of Community Colleges from adopting rule language that would discriminate against persons who might have a mental illness, but want to go to school.
  • We advocated to the Department of Health and Human Services for a more effective definition and rate of payment for Peer Support in our state via a position paper and dialogue with State leadership.  We enlisted the support of Steve Harrington of the National Association of Peer Specialists to share persuasive information with DHHS leadership.
  • We addressed concerns to the Director of the Division of Medical Assistance that Health Reform in North Carolina should include community level, peer-provided health support.  As a result, we were invited to participate in planning for future integration of behavioral health care and primary care for persons on Medicare and Medicaid.  CANSO was invited into second phase discussions to better promote peer-operated services.
  • The Executive Director was enlisted to serve on a legislative subcommittee to represent the consumer ­­perspective on governance needs.  This was a ground-breaker, to have consumer representation on a legislative committee.
  • We are now asked to help with the “in-reach” and transition planning for persons coming out of facilities to live in communities of their choices.  Two members of our leadership are participating, mainly to support the role of peers in these transitions.
  • NC CANSO has participated in planning North Carolina’s 2012 Recovery Conference.  After three years of letters to the planning committee encouraging reduced rates or scholarships for consumers, there will be twenty individuals attending on scholarships this year!
  • NC CANSO has been vocal about the need to increase peer services in our state as a vehicle to better outcomes and to promote the necessary systemic culture shift to person centered recovery outcomes.
  • NC CANSO leaders are actively involved in consumer-developed programs in many of the communities where they live.
  • NC CANSO is piloting the development of a peer-operated center aimed at recovery and health promotion.
  • The Director has presented about the role of peer support and alternative approaches that support recovery and growth to residents and attending psychiatrists at Wake Forest University Department of Psychiatry.
  • NC CANSO board members participated as consultants on a national webinar training for Vocational Rehabilitation specialists about supported employment.

Earlier organizational activities:

  • Established a talented board of directors with members from all across the state.
  • Requested regular meetings between leadership at the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, resulting in almost monthly meetings between state leadership and consumers.  We are beginning our second year of ongoing dialogue!
  • Engaged other consumer leaders to form a collaborative voice so that we as consumers can more fully participate in the development and oversight of our public service system.
  • Presented the Bright Ideas Forum in June to which people came from across the state.  The guest presenters were Mr. Joseph Rogers of the National Mental Health Self-Help Clearing House and NC’s own Mr. Mike Mayer of Community Resource Alliance.  Mr. Rogers stimulated discussion about how we as consumers can become valued advocates that cannot be ignored.  Mr. Mayer presented about the system issues which are resulting in so many of our citizens living in long-term institutional settings.   Thanks to Mr. Rogers and the support relationship between The Clearinghouse and NC CANSO, we were able to offer accommodations to attendees at no cost to them.

Furthermore, NC CANSO has:

  • Participated in work groups related to CABHA roll-out and the process for monitoring CABHA performance and suitability.
  • Posted a survey for consumers to address how the Department of Health and Human Services can best reach consumers with useful information when changes are happening in the service system.
  • Participated actively on an advisory committee of our state’s independent advocacy and rights protection organization, Disability Rights North Carolina.  NC CANSO spearheaded the writing of a more consumer-friendly letter aimed at helping service recipients understand changes which may impact them related to CABHA.
  • Collaborated with other advocacy organizations in united effort to change policies that are discriminatory.

We want to engage the consumer community state-wide.  It is one way that NC CANSO can fuel the development of a strong, respected consumer movement in North Carolina!

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