Our Raise Your Voice Behavioral Health Forums are going quite well.  You’ll remember that our objective for the Forums is to help us transform our behavioral health system for the better.  Our behavioral health team has been traveling to most parts of the state to hold focus groups including 14 in Maricopa County and focus groups in Sierra Vista, Payson, Casa Grande, Yuma and Tucson. Overall, participation has been consistent with an average of 20 people attending in each meeting.  We didn’t hold focus groups during Thanksgiving week, but resumed them this week beginning with a forum in Flag on November 29.

We’re getting excellent response and many good ideas are being shared. One person asked, “Why did it take thirty years for you to do this?”  So far, we’ve learned that members are most concerned with the way they’re treated.  Things like listening, respect and having a meaningful role within the clinical team are some of the themes that we are hearing.  For example, members have repeatedly expressed that it’s important for the treatment team and service providers to listen to and value their opinion and views when it comes to treatment and service delivery decisions. One member summarized it best by saying, “We know what works better for our own recovery.”  We’ve heard lots of expressions of gratitude for the opportunity to voice their opinion in a safe and structured environment.

We expect to complete the focus group meetings in early December.  However, the forums have been so successful that we may schedule more to make sure all segments of the community have the opportunity to share their opinion.  As the focus groups wind down, we’ll enter the data into a database and identify themes, trends and issues.  This information will be used in a report, which will be released to the public sometime in January 2011 and subsequently play a key role as we begin the process of drafting revised court orders.   Information about the forums is posted on our BHS Transformation Page and our Department Homepage