For a number of years, FMHI’s Pat Robinson has advocated for inclusion of consumers of mental health and substance abuse services as partners in research. Several years ago, she conducted focus groups within FMHI on participatory research, resulting in a good consensus that the approach was a central component of conducting successful research. Her advocacy efforts continued, and now a more active partnership is underway with individuals who know first hand the struggles of mental, addictive and developmental disorders.
“I was not the only one with such a vision,” said Pat Robinson. “This has also been a special area of interest to Bev Crockett. We are excited to be adding a resource of individuals with lived experience. They bring a perspective that we don’t have and they can make significant contributions to the work we do.”
Within the next few months, FMHI will form an alliance with the Florida Peer Network (FPN) to strengthen the voice of individuals who are directly affected by policy decisions of the public/private mental health system.
FPN members will be available to FMHI staff and faculty to help frame the scope of work necessary to directly benefit the people studied. By working with consumers, their involvement also results in getting the word out to more individuals and putting new knowledge in the hands of those who need to make changes.
“We believe the system has much to gain from listening to our combined wisdom and experience,” said Patrick Hendry, FPN Executive Director. “Assisting each other in seeking recovery and maximum quality of life is our central goal.”
“We welcome these partnerships,” added Bob Friedman. “We have been hosting two chapters of the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, and will be convening a meeting of a variety of consumer and family organizations and advocacy groups in the near future.”
For additional information, Pat Robinson can be reached at 813-974-1913.