If you or one of your family members receives behavioral health services in Arizona, it’s time to raise your voice and be heard.  Over the next few weeks our ADHS Behavioral Health System Transformation Team will be sponsoring a series of forums so that folks can express their opinions about how we should shape the future of behavioral health system in Arizona.  The forums will actively involve the community through a series of focus groups that’ll gather the collective opinion of members on what they want and need from the behavioral health system.  The team will be using an evidence-based practice called Community Based Participatory Research– which is used in public health research to engage the community in designing programs that are responsive to the public’s needs.  Using this approach, we’ll be able to build a sense of shared responsibility, ownership and buy-in for system redesign.

We’ll have 14 focus groups throughout Maricopa County and 6 others statewide over the next few weeks.  Peers and family members have volunteered and have been trained to assist in the facilitation of the focus groups.  Each focus group will be conducted using a script of instructions and questions which were developed with peer and family member input.  Each group will be divided into smaller groups of four to eight participants to discuss each question.  The consensus answers will be recorded on sheets of easel paper and collected at the conclusion of the meetings.  The data we collect at the forums will be entered into a database and analyzed for themes, trends and issues using an SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) software program.

Our objective is develop a report of the findings to help us transform the system.  We’ll also use the information as a first step toward developing draft new court orders under the Arnold v. Sarn court case.   After we see the results from the focus groups, we can determine next steps.  Information about the forums is posted on our BHS Transformation Page and our Department Homepage.  Thanks to Teresita Oaks, Claudia Sloan, Stacy Mobbs, Robert Sorce & Team DBHS for your work on this initiative!