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Fostering Meaningful Engagement of Persons with Lived Experience at the System-level

The purpose of this summary report is to describe the context, purpose, and benefits of meaningfully engaging persons with lived experience of mental health and addiction issues in system-level work. “System-level engagement” refers to engagement that happens at the highest tier of decision-making (governmental, institutional, and organizational) to promote change in culture, policies, and procedures across organizations and services. This summary report outlines common barriers and facilitators to meaningful engagement at the system level, as well as outcomes related to this work. It also highlights examples of engagement frameworks from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. There are many successful practices to draw from; the evidence does not point to a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, the literature outlines the importance of creating a “receptive context” that combines individual, organizational, structural, political, and cultural conditions for meaningful engagement (1). That said; engagement frameworks are most meaningful when they meet the needs of all stakeholders involved. Three key findings:  Meaningful engagement refers to genuine, equitable, and affirming processes to integrate the perspectives and expertise of people with lived experience within the mental health and addiction system, from policy development to point-of-care (2).  Through their expertise, persons with lived experience can enhance how the mental health and addiction system works.  Shifts in organizational culture and practices, as well as practitioner beliefs, are required to facilitate meaningful engagement of persons with lived experience in improving the mental health and addiction system.

Publication Date: 2019 Publication Name: CAMH


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