Here are my thoughts on some innovative ways to increase peer leadership in your state. This was a conversation that came from SCOPE, an organization of peer in Missouri. The acronym stands for Support Consumer Operated Program Enhancements, but unfortunately, leadership didn’t do a good job developing joint problem solving capacities of the members and it just turned into a reporting mechanism for the state to monitor the peer programs. They put out a call for ideas and I sent them this and got no response. So this is re-post so that other people may be able to use the ideas.
Let peers have the same recognition as professionals:
- Recognize that our experience is as useful if not more useful than a degree
- Have some peer positions at the mental health centers that pay equivalent to an MSW.
- Give our experience equal priority as book training.
- Measure outcomes data for peer and traditional programs, and shift funding by merit. (More will go to more peer programs.)
- Give 2-4 substantial fellowships to state peer leaders to do mental health advocacy.
- Hire a peer to do full-time mental health lobbying at the state level to rally peers for grassroots campaigns.
- Put the full state mental health budget online, and let peers vote on allocations.
- Increase administrative efficiencies.
Peer Leadership Needs Business Skills and Social Messaging
- Learn about accounting.
- Learn about scaling up a business.
- Go to business networking events.
- If one phone number could handle all the calls in Missouri, why have five warm lines? How much info given is local vs. non-local? Maybe each warm-line could specialize to a different audience?
- Have a central website with very easy input parameters so all people could easily submit news and blogs.
- Use trained people to review the Medication Clinical Edits.
- Give a financial kickback to people trained to help folks off meds and reduce medication spending.
- Train people to inspect nursing homes with financial kickback for getting people back in independent living.
Central Website and Marketing Materials
Create a central website and Facebook for state groups with weekly updates that could replace all news and updates
- Marketing materials with publicity that is cheaper than color tri-fold brochures.
- Put together a solid fact sheet on cost savings from peer-run programs.
- Have members tell their stories in non-disease language.
- Learn about social messaging and use Facebook, Twitter, Tublr, and other tools to reach new audiences
- Use more online marketing.
- Stop using wacky acronyms and initials.
- Use media to its full potential – images and videos go much further than words.