CAMHPRO visits Susanville today, wants to meet residents at 3 p.m. at Memorial Park

Andrea Wagner, executive director of the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations is visiting Susanville today, and she asks the public to meet her and her associates between 3 and 4 p.m. at Memorial Park.

CAMHPRO also will visit Judy’s House for a live interview earlier in the day. Wagner said the purpose of the visit is to raise awareness of mental health issues and funding.

Actually, Wagner and the CAMHPRO staff are visiting facilities all across the state and their videos and more information will be available to the public on Instagram, Facebook and eventually at the CAMHPRO website, camhpro.org. The visit is called 5 in 5 and the CAMHPRO staff will visit facilities in all five regions of the state from Susanville and Alturas to San Diego in five weeks.

According to the CAMHPRO website, “CAMHPRO aspires to represent and serve a community that is richly diverse in background, perspective, and experience. Members of this community may self-identify as ‘peers,’ ‘consumers (of services),’ ‘clients (of mental health systems),’ ‘persons with a psychiatric disability,’ ‘persons in recovery,’ ‘psychiatric survivors,’ ‘cognitively divergent,’ ‘persons with lived experience,’ or in other ways. CAMHPRO works to be an inclusive and useful organization for all these constituents and others who share its goals and values.”

CAMHPRO history
According to the CAMHPRO website, Consumer leaders throughout the state began meeting in October 2011 to discuss the need for a strong mental health consumer presence and voice in California. These leaders were concerned that the consumer voice was failing to provide the local and statewide leadership necessary to promote consumer values of recovery and empowerment successfully.

CAMHPRO public policy principles
According to the CAMHPRO website, the Board of Directors of the California Association of Mental Health Peer-Run Organizations takes positions concerning legislation and public policy based on the following principles.

CAMHPRO endorses a recovery perspective affirming that health and social engagement are achievable for all people through social inclusion and appropriate services, accommodations and supports as determined, and directed by, such persons.

Public policy recommendations also are based on whether they recognize and advance:

  • The value of mental health, peer-run organizations and programs, both as an integral part of — and an alternative to — existing mental health systems and the services they provide;
  • Understanding of and support for the unique role of peer support in achieving recovery, and support for professional recognition of peer supporters on a state level;
  • Support for the availability of voluntary, community-based, prejudice-free mental health services, offering holistic social and rehabilitative services delivered with cultural humility and sensitivity to the diverse communities served, while addressing the expressed needs and goals of a mental health client/psychiatric survivor, including access to affordable housing, meaningful employment, nutrition, primary health care, and education;
  • Support for the voluntary choices, civil and legal rights, self-determination and dignity of people living with mental health conditions and psychiatric survivors, including such persons’ decisions as to all services, medications and supports;
  • Support for meaningful and consequential involvement in all decision-making about behavioral health systems, policies and services by the people directly affected by them, as well as other community stakeholders, on every level of policy making, program planning and implementation, and program/systems evaluation;
  • Support for the elimination of coercive practices, such as forced drugging, inpatient/outpatient commitment, and use of seclusion and restraints, as well as other actions which abridge rights or curtail liberties; and
  • Opposition to prejudice and discrimination targeting people with mental health conditions and to ideas and practices that devalue human dignity and cognitive diversity.

CAMHPRO supports and advocates for social justice and equity for racially and culturally marginalized communities as they intersect with wellness and mental health and our mission of self-determination and choice.

There had been a clear shift in the mental health consumer environment. Strong leadership existed. However, the hubs of activism were where consumers gathered, and the centers of consumer power were the local consumer-run programs throughout the state.

California needed an organization that represented these consumer-run programs and advocated for the voices of consumers statewide, an association composed of organizational members instead of (or in addition to) individuals.

CAMHPRO was created, a membership association of consumer-run organizations. The core members of CAMHPRO are established, independent, and successful consumer-run non-profit organizations. CAMHPRO also offers associate membership for consumer-run organizations that are not yet non-profit or that work through fiscal agencies.