Every consumer/tāngata whaiora has the human right to lead their own recovery
CALMHA’s key objective:
To increase opportunities for consumers/tāngata whaiora to influence decisions which affect the lives of themselves and others who use Mental Health and Addiction services.
The CALMHA Framework outlines the goals and how we hope to achieve them in more depth
We were honoured to have Mary O’Hagan and Shaun McNeil present at the CALMHA forum, May 2013. Consumer leaders in their own right, Mary and Shaun inspired a group of consumers, and those that support consumers, with insights led from their own experiences. Our Framework was also shared at this forum.
At the forum, Shaun shared a poem that summed up consumer leadership that we have been granted permission to share by Canadian Slam Poet Ritallin.
The CALMHA Leadership Programme
There are 15 people on our CALMHA Leadership Programme. In October 2013 they completed a series of Peerzone workshops. The next phase is supporting participants to develop skills that will help them influence change in addictions and mental health. Ideas so far include mentoring, workshops and networking for mutual support.
We have identified mentoring as a key way to develop leadership capacity.
What is Consumer Leadership?
We are committed to consumer leadership and have moved beyond the language and concepts of consumer input and participation. At Kites we strive to model the philosophy and practice of consumer leadership in our work.
Consumer leadership is about power and enacting it can be political whether we are part of the consumer movement, employed in a mental health service or getting on with life in the way we want.
Reclaiming Our Power- conference paper about consumer leadership In New Zealand mental health services
Leadership in our sector is motivated by a form of altruism; most of us want to improve the health system. It is based on and represents the views of a broad range of people’s experiences and concerns. It is based in activism; the work we do within our groups and communities aims to bring about change. It has a strong focus on social responsibility and not on personal or organisational benefit. It is also based in relationships at the community level, and representing the concerns and needs of a constituency.
My favourite quote about what community (and therefore consumer) leadership is about comes from Sir Gustav Nossel, who describes the difficulties and tensions inherent in the exercise of consumer leadership:
'It can be about causing ripples when people want a smooth pond…. It can make people feel uncomfortable. Community leadership is often about getting back up after being knocked down—about spreading a message that nobody at the time wants to hear. It’s often about taking the wide community out of its comfort zone and forcing it to confront issues that it would rather not. In a nutshell, this is what representatives of the health consumer sector have been doing for decades. We just haven’t recognised it as leadership!'
From Consumer Leadership - Lets Develop It by Kate Moore, published in the Australiam Health Consumer, Number 3, 2007
Consumer Leadership and Workforce Development Project
In 2010 Kites was contracted by Capital and Coast and Hutt Valley District Health Boards to investigate ways to develop consumer leadership and the consumer workforce in our region.