As an Oregon Health Plan behavioral health consumer, I have experienced firsthand the challenges that individuals face when accessing behavioral health services.
Many individuals struggle to navigate complex service systems, and too often their voices are left out of decision-making processes. That's why I am writing to express my support for Senate Bill 432.1, which seeks to expand consumer engagement and equitable participation in behavioral health services planning and policy development.
This legislation is critical in improving the quality and accessibility of behavioral health services for individuals across Oregon.
The TA center created by this bill will increase consumer engagement and equitable participation in behavioral health services planning and policy development. This will ensure that the voices and perspectives of individuals accessing behavioral health services are heard and incorporated into decision-making processes.
Peer-run organizations also play a critical role in supporting individuals with behavioral health needs, and SB 432.1 will add resources to improve services and support for these organizations, which will help them better serve their communities.
Many individuals are unfamiliar with how governmental processes work or how to find and work effectively with other funding sources. This legislation will provide guidance and support to help individuals navigate these systems.
The TA center will be led and staffed by individuals who have accessed behavioral health services, leveraging their insights into accommodations and strategies that helped them achieve recovery and ensure that individuals with lived experience are at the forefront.
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Kevin Fitts is a resident of Southeast Portland and the executive director of The Oregon Mental Health Consumers Association.