Report from Alternative Services Dialogue Session
Alternatives 2001
Philadelphia, PA
August 23-26, 2001

Facilitator: Larry Belcher, Executive Director, CONTAC
Reporter: Kathtie Berkey Session 1, August 23, 2001

Part I: Consensus

I. Role and Function . . .
Vote: Consensus
Discussion: Some participants had concerns about using the word "alternative" to describe non-traditional services. The word "integrated" was suggested. It was also stated that alternative services as we know them today have been around much longer than the current medical/clinical model of treatment services, and that these services were in fact traditional. It was agreed that to communicate with providers of traditional services, legislators, and government, we need to speak their language. "Alternative" was accepted as the description of all services that are non-traditional.

II. Alternative Services . . . encourage active and ongoing user participation.
Vote: Consensus

III. Peer-run programs at state hospitals and other facilities . . . administered and managed by peers
Vote: Consensus
Discussion: It was stated that consumers will have the responsibility to manage and administer the programs.

IV. Documentation for alternative services shall consist of qualitative and quantitative data. Vote: Consensus
Discussion: Some participants stated that personal stories should be included as documentation of effectiveness. People are moved by personal stories that are proof that alternative services work. Others stated that personal stories are sometimes used to discredit consumers. It was agreed that those who allocate funding are mainly interested in quantitative and qualitative data collection.

V. Program Standards . . . designed by consumers for consumers.
Vote: Consensus

Part Two: Values

The participants broke into three groups to discuss values. Four values discussed while reviewing the consensus statements were integration, choice, safety and empowerment.

The facilitator asked the groups to pull out two more values that they felt were important to peer-run programs. The next step was to write a statement about those values that explained why they were important to alternative services. (See values statement from Larry Belcher, following.)

Part Three: Action Plan

I. Issue: How do we get Alternative Services to other places?

A. Objective: To develop a "white paper," a paper that describes our stand on Alternative Services
B. Activities
1. Develop consensus statements, value statements
2. Gather material that includes available/developed research, reports abstracts, bibliography
3. Identify writer/author
4. Finalize white paper draft
C. Resources: Electronic Communication/Self-Help Clearinghouse
D. Writer: Susan Rogers was suggested. It was also suggested that Jean Campbell might provide materials.
E. Draft complete: A date to be determined

II. Issue: How do we disseminate the draft to consumers for comment?
A. Objective: Build support for our position (model) on Alternative Services B. Activities

1. Distribute to consumers for comment by a date to be determined
2. Return to Clearinghouse by a date to be determined
3. Post comments on Web by a date to be determined
4. Review by plank facilitators and input by a date to be determined
5. Post on Internet by a date to be determined

C. Resources
1. Clearinghouse mailing list
3. MHA
4. NAMI Consumer Council
5. National Empowerment Center
D. Representatives of consumer groups
Vote: Consensus

III. What do we do with final paper?
A. Objective: Disseminate to the community
B. Activities

1. Identify recipients
2. Mail/Web accessible
3. Publish findings
C. Resources: Consumers, consumer supporters or groups
D. Who disseminates: local/regional/national technical assistance centers, consumer groups
E. Timeline: ongoing


Choice: We believe in choice, which contributes to our freedom and dignity, fosters independence, and supports our knowledge that we are in control of our lives and can choose among a full range of traditional and non-traditional services.

Safety: We believe in safety, to be free from hurt, the right to our privacy, and the sanctity of physical and emotional boundaries, which is essential to peace of mind and our independence within the community.

Recovery: We believe in recovery, where we are capable of dealing with our histories and experience growth, wellness and hope, while leading full, rich, and productive lives.

Empowerment: We believe in empowerment, where our mutual support leads to both independence and interdependence, as we take action to make a positive difference and each consumer's participation provides us strength.

Respect: We believe in respect, a mutual high regard, fundamental to a system of care, where honoring the feelings, ideas, and being of others is as important as acknowledging our own wholeness, while protecting personal privacy and boundaries.

Growth: We believe in growth, which is promoted by an environment of personal, social, and skill development, helping to support further integration into our communities, while incorporating all cultures.

Integration: We believe in integration, where we are respected as part of a broad range of services, working collaboratively with other providers to make essential services possible.

Presented by:

National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse

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