ABC’s of Local Advocacy in San Mateo County
On November 15th, the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations (CAMHPRO) delivered a workshop on the basics of local advocacy to over 40 behavioral health peer partners, family members and advocates from Heart & Soul, Inc., the California Clubhouse, Voice of Recovery, National Alliance on Mental Illness San Mateo and BHRS.
The workshop covered everything from what it takes to participate in community program planning, mental health boards, system of care meetings and other local input opportunities, to knowing the laws including the Mental Health Services Act regulations, to mock input opportunities.
Participants got to practice writing and giving effective public comment input. Many nervously made their way up to the room podium and shared their 2 minute public comment, often including their own personal lived experience as a means to add a personal touch to their input.
The most inspiring part of the workshop was getting to wrap up the day with a real action plan. Groups were formed representing each of the agencies that were present to select a topic and issue they would like to work on as a team. The groups developed on action plan that included next steps, who was responsible, deadlines and a follow up meeting. You could feel the excitement in the room as each group presented their advocacy issue and next steps.