All around us in our communities, organizations, and social networks, there are individuals whose personal lives are impacted by mental health policy and programming. Parents and young people with lived experience have an important perspective to bring to the work of children's mental health.
The Office of Children's Mental Health (OCMH) leverages the perspective of parents and young people by ensuring our collective impact teams include Lived Experience Partner participation and leadership. We have seen huge benefits as our collective impact teams follow the wisdom of lived experience leaders.
This website can serve as a tool to assist agencies, coalitions, and project leaders addressing children's mental health to utilize the expertise of lived experience leaders in the work that they do. Check out About Lived Experience to see why this framework is empowering and effective for any organization.
How It Works- The Process
Follow these steps and resources to intentionally bring people with lived experience to your work.
1. Look internally. You must be ready to share decision-making power and be open to new ideas.
Sharing Power- NCTSN
Family Engagement in Systems- FREDLA
2. Identify a specific opportunity for an individual with lived experience to get involved. Plan for how you can honor their time and expertise, either with monetary stipends, food, or other incentives.
Lived Experience Partnership Planning Tool for Organizations and Coalitions- OCMH
Supporting Family Participation- SAMHSA
3. Seek out a lived experience leader with the relevant skills and background to support your work.
4. Once connected, be clear with all aspects of involvement, and work together to ensure that it is a good fit for both of you. Provide relevant information on the project, organization, key individuals, etc.
5. Relationships are foundational. Mentorship is necessary. Process is everything. Identify how you will help support the lived experience leader to be successful.
Person-First Language Guide - OCMH
Core Competencies for Family Leaders - Missouri Family Leadership Network
6. Proceed even if it's messy. And at times it will be messy. But always be on the lookout for how to improve the lived experience leader's depth of engagement in your work.
Parent Engagement and Leadership Assessment Guide and Toolkit - CSSP
Know you are not alone in breaking stigma and empowering the authentic perspective of lived experience! The Office of Children’s Mental Health is one of the few sources that provides connections to the wealth of resources needed to develop and empower these lived experience leaders, so that you can confidently and effectively implement lived experience leadership into your programs.
Please reach out at any time to OCMH@wi.gov.