The Council recognizes the importance of engaging people with lived experience of mental health and/or addictions issues (PWLE) and their families and caregivers in their work to improve Ontario’s mental health and addictions system.
In January 2016, the Council created the Lived Experience Reference Panel and the Family Member/Caregiver Reference Panel to support its work. Each panel includes up to 20 individuals who have direct experience of the mental health and addictions system - either as a PWLE or as a family member or caregiver of someone with a mental health and/or addiction issue. The Council brings key pieces of work to the Reference Panels for input. The Panels report to the Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council and are supported by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and its representatives.
Extensive outreach was conducted by the Council and Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care during the recruitment process. Equity was a priority consideration during the recruitment process and members reflect the diversity of the province and its regions, as well as a range of experiences with the mental health and addictions system.
The Council, recognizing the importance of engaging clients and families in their work to improve Ontario’s mental health and addictions system, brought together a group of people from across Ontario who have experience with using mental health and/or addictions services in the province.