The Mission of the POCC is to improve the quality of life for Alameda County residents who have mental health or mental health and substance use issues, in whatever settings they find themselves, and to provide the consumer perspective in Transforming Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services to a recovery vision that is consumer-driven, culturally responsive, and holistic in its services and supports. The POCC provides an empowered and informed voice: of, by, and for consumers in the behavioral health care system, related systems, and in the community.
The Vision of the POCC is that consumers have a unified voice and play a major role in the development, implementation and evaluation of health care, mental health, and social policies, empowering people to recover and lead a full life in the community.
RECOVERY: Recovery is real and possible for everyone. To recover, we need services and supports that treat us with dignity, respect our rights, allow us to make choices, and provide assistance with our real-life, self-defined needs. This range of services must include consumer-run and operated programs.
SELF DETERMINATION: Self-determination is essential for recovery to occur. It “encompasses concepts such as free will, civil and human rights, freedom of choice, independence, personal agency, self-direction, and individual responsibility” (University of Illinois at Chicago National Research & Training Center, 2002). We need to be in control of our own lives.
HOLISTIC CHOICES: We need opportunities define and make our own choices, making it possible to achieve recovery, re-connect with our strengths and build personal resilience. This includes the choice of using a wide range of recovery-oriented services and supports.
Examples include: housing, mental health/welllness education, and career development. Effective services are consumer driven and/or consumer-run. Services and supports should embrace whole health and coordinate physical and mental/emotional health. These choices lead people towards full integration into the community.
VOICE: We are empowered advocates and must have a voice in our recovery and in the policies facilitating our recovery. We are the most authentic voice in the mental health system, since mental health decisions affect every aspect of our lives. We bring our lived experience, therefore, we must be central in any dialogues and decisions about mental health issues at all levels.
PERSONHOOD: We are whole human beings and will campaign to remove stigma and discrimination. We have the same dreams as all members of the community and the ability to make our own decisions. A barrier-free community is one free from discrimination and stigma.
SPIRITUALITY: Searching for meaning and purpose in each of our lives can be a major part of wellness. How we perceive our world and existence can include our ideas of values and beliefs that we are able to identify with. Spirituality goes beyond religion and into the depth of our awareness and understanding of being connected within ourselves and the universe.
CULTURAL RESPONSIVENESS: Respecting culture and cultural background in all its diverse representation including values, traditions, and beliefs is essential to the POCC. Based on this belief and the need to represent the diversity of Alameda County, the POCC is committed to inclusiveness, prioritizing ethnic diversity in all of its activities as well as other cultural identities such as gender, sexual orientation, geographic area, and age groups.
MUTUAL PEER SUPPORT: Mutual peer support is the glue that holds the POCC together and is built on hope, equality, respect, personal responsibility and self-determination. Peer support describes relationships between people with similar ‘lived experience’ who understand each other’s situation. These relationships are empowered by reaching across rather than up and down. Avoiding non-pathologizing
connections ensures deep, holistic understandings between people who can “be” with each other without the constraints of an expert/patient relationship.