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Get Involved

At BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, we strive to deliver high quality, person-centered care. Fostering collaborative, empowering relationships between patients, families, and health care professionals is one of the ways we achieve this.

BCMHSUS leaders, staff, physicians, and researchers engage with patient and family partners to make the care and services we provide even better. The patient and family perspective is key to achieving the best healthcare possible. For more information on how these partnerships support better decision-making, improve quality of care, ultimately leading to better health outcomes, take a look at the Patient and Family Engagement Framework.

How can I get involved?
The BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services Patient and Family Partner Network is a provincial network of people across B.C. with lived or living experience of mental health, substance use, or criminal justice involvement. 
  • Do you have lived or living experience (either yourself or as a family member) of mental health, substance use, and/or involvement with the criminal justice system?
  • Are able to share insights and information about your own health care experiences?
  • Are you eager to help us improve health care?
If so, we’d like to invite you to become a patient and family partner at BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services.

How do I become a patient and family partner?
If you’re interested in being a patient or family partner, please email us at engage_bcmhsus@phsa.ca

Once you contact us, a member of our patient experience and community engagement team will contact you with more information.

Patient and family partners are screened, trained, and supported to work in partnership with staff, physicians, and researchers to help make decisions about our services, programs, projects, and policies. 

What do patient and family partners do?
Patient and family partners help design and plan services, programs, and policies at BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services through a number of engagement approaches. These may include the following:
  • Participating on working groups and committees
  • Enhancing training for new care providers and leaders by sharing your story
  • Interviewing new staff to ensure we are hiring the right people to serve patients and families
  • Reviewing policies, resources and handbooks to give feedback
  • Participating in focus groups or one-on-one conversations
Why become a patient and family partner?
As a patient and family partner of BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, you can expect the following:
  • Receive training, education, and support to build your own skills, such as communication skills
  • Share experiences, knowledge, and ideas on how to improve care and research at BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services
  • Connect with other patients and families who also want to make change
What is a patient and family advisory committee?
Joining a patient and family advisory committee (PFAC) is another way to engage and get involved with BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services. These are site-specific advisory committees for both our Forensic Psychiatric Services and Adult Mental Health and Substance Use Services. There is also an overarching patient and family experience council for the whole program.

Each PFAC provides an important forum for BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services staff, leaders, and researchers to obtain ideas, input, and insights to guide services and projects. PFAC members share their unique perspectives with health care professionals. While each PFAC is addressing different priorities and projects, they all have the following things in common:
  • At least 50% of members are patient and family partners reflecting diversity of the communities we serve across the Province 
  • Are co-chaired by a patient and/or family partner
  • Have established Terms of References (as an example, here is the Terms of Reference for the Patient and Family Experience Council)
  • Meet regularly, usually once per month
  • Establish annual goals
  • Seeks a balance of PFAC-initiated and staff-initiated projects
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of PFAC on a regular basis
Other ways to get involved

We work with volunteers and students in a variety of clinical and non-clinical areas, such as recreation therapy, art therapy, special events, and the employability program. Learn more about student placement opportunities in clinical areas and about volunteering in non-clinical areas

 
If you are interested in getting involved in research, we invite you to join our research community as a partner. You will be informed of opportunities for participation in research studies, receive newsletters, and attend organized research activities.
 

Your donation will help drive better access to and quality of care, innovative research at BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services. The BC Mental Health Foundation is the fundraising partner of BCMHSUS. Learn more on our Donate page. 

 
 
Compensation
Patient and family partners are provided an hourly amount for their time and contributions. BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services also reimburses expenses, such as parking and transit. For more information, see the BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services Compensating Patient and Family Partners Playbook.

Partner testimonials

"My experience as a member of the Patient and Family Partner Network has been truly rewarding. I have an opportunity to assist in improving the patient and family experience by sharing from my own. It's a very special opportunity. I feel valued as a partner and am treated as a respected colleague." – Chris

"For me, being a patient partner is rewarding. It allows me to apply my lived experience with both mental health and addictions challenges to provide input into policy decisions and programs that address the needs of recovering patients and their families. I also gain the satisfaction that my recovery experience is valued in contributing to these patient care policies and PHSA.” – Mark

"Being a patient and family partner has been so uplifting. I feel so grateful that I am able to share my lived experience to help someone else have a better healthcare experience." – Pam

"The power of partnerships with patients and families is having lived experience driving future patient care. The result is the delivery of outstanding patient experience in people’s healing journey." - Ron


SOURCE: Get Involved ( )
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