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Consumer Leadership Forum of DC

Helping Consumers Help Themselves
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THE CONSUMER LEADERSHIP FORUM

Consumers Uniting for Freedom and Choice


The Consumer Leadership Forum is a non-profit organization consisting of over one hundred (100) members of DC mental health consumers advocates. We have several work groups with both men and women of different ethnic backgrounds. We are a consumer-run organization of people rich in ethnic diversity, strengths, vision, creativity, courage, and determination.

 

 

We are bonded together by a common purpose, a common goal of wanting to reform our DC Mental Health System. Our ultimate goal is to create a system of compassionate care that is peer-led, consumer-driven, and based on a recovery model.

Each and every CLF member has stories to tell based on their own personal experiences dealing with mental illness dealing with the DC Mental Health System.

Each of us has wisdom to share as a result of this experience, and to lend insight about what is working, what is not working and what we can do as mental health advocates, and leaders in our mental health community to advocate for change. Each of us has experienced the stigma and pain associated with being diagnosed with mental illness. It is time to put an end to this discrimination. We, the members of CLF, believe strongly that each and every one of us deserves the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

It is our collective responsibility as mental health advocates, and leaders in our mental health community, to educate other people about our own experiences dealing with mental illness. Remember, we are people first and foremost with hearts, minds, souls, interests, concerns, talents, gifts, hopes and dreams. We must learn to cope with our illness and let others know about our own experiences and why we use our wisdom from these experiences to advocate for change.


 
 

Many of us who have ended up in the system have lost a sense of our own personal power. I assure you, the quickest, easiest way to reclaim your personal power is to simply decide, right here, right now, the following affirmations:

 

I am going to take control of my own mental health

I am going to take control of my own personal health.

I am going to take control of my own life.

I am going to take control of my own choices in life.

I am going to take control of fulfilling my own hopes and dreams.

I am going to take control of my own destiny in life.

 

The members of CLF seek to empower each other and our fellow consumers in our communities through education, advocacy, meetings, workshops, trainings and outreach. We are have our own outreach team that goes throughout the city of Washington, DC, to introduce who we are, what we do, how we can work together to support one another to address issues of concerns by consumers, and to let consumers know about other organizations out there that can help them.

 

Consumer Leadership Forum began in January of 2006 and has met ever since on a monthly basis. We have started several task forces and now work with multiple coalitions of lawyers, other advocates, and service providers who share our goals and vision of a reformed mental health system.

 

Our work groups are as follows:


Our Outreach Team is going out in the community to talk to consumers, organizations, providers and shelters to address the many issues of mental illness. We have several organizations/providers that we meet with monthly. We talk about what it is like dealing with mental illness, how we manage to get on the path of recovery, and what we do to help stay that way. We also do presentations at meetings, conferences and workshops.

 

Peer Support meets to talk about how we can help support our fellow consumers and help them to get back into society. We come up with a plan on how to reach consumers in the group and encourage them to get involved by helping themselves. We strongly encourage consumers to become independent by setting goals.

 

Our Housing task force is working in conjunction with the Department's Housing Advocacy Council to address housing issues, attend housing meetings and work on how we can address the housing problem, not only with consumers but the homeless population as well.

 

Our Crisis Care task force is working on improving the use of the Access Help Line to place consumers in crisis beds sooner, as well as having more crisis beds and crisis intervention services. This task force also advocates for consumers to receive education about how medications affect their health, and how to recognize the symptoms of their illness.

 
 

Our task force on St. Elizabeth's Hospital is very concerned about the living conditions at St. Elizabeth's. We have made a difference in how the people have been treated in that hospital. Members of CLF have helped to improve the living conditions at the hospital by having the hospital investigated for lack of staff and treatment.


We have tremendous power when we join together and discuss what we want and need and how to advocate for it. In our work groups, we develop action plans to advocate for what we want.


I invite you to take some time to read our newsletter and brochure, so please share it with a friend. Inside you will find our mission statement, our vision statement, and a statement of our goals along with other interesting articles. I personal invite you to join our Consumer Leadership Forum and work with us. Let us create a system of care that truly supports all of us and find a way to help rebuild our lives.

 

CLF believes strongly that recovery is possible, one step at a time, one day at a time, with the right supports in place to guide you in your healing journey in life.


CLF fully supports the following principles of recovery:

·         Hope

·         Self-direction

·         Responsibility

·         Respect

·         Peer support

·         Strength-Based

·         Non-Linear Planning

·         Holistic Care

·         Consumer Empowerment

·         Individualized and Person Centered Care

CLF meets on the first Friday of every month at McClendon Center from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm. McClendon Center is located at 1313 New York Avenue, NW. We are on the fifth floor. If you are interested in attending our next meeting, and bringing a friend or two, please call Dorothy Adams at (202) 737-6191 from 9-5 Monday thru Friday or (202) 607-2307 after 6:00 pm. We will provide lunch for everyone. See you at our next meeting.

 

 

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