Toronto, Ontario – Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO) is proud to announce the launch of a Persons with Lived and Living Experience (PWLLE) Advisory Panel.
The AMHO PWLLE Advisory Panel is made up of clients, family members, community members, and caregivers with a wide range of lived experiences and perspectives. The creation of this Panel will ensure the voices and expertise of patients, families, and caregivers are at the center AMHO’s efforts to mobilize, advocate for, and serve our members, their communities, and the broader community mental health and addiction sector.
Panel members were recruited through a values-based approach, focused on respect, diversity, and collaboration. The recruitment approach prioritized safety and inclusion, with the aim of ensuring that the Panel reflects the skill sets, diversity, and personal experiences needed to advise AMHO on key organization priorities, policy initiatives, and advocacy efforts.
AMHO would like to acknowledge the health sector partners that supported and helped guide AMHO in the development of their approach to engaging the voices of PWLLE, including:
- Support House’s Centre for Innovation in Peer Support,
- Community Addictions Peer Support Association (CAPSA), and;
- Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH).
We also want to express our sincerest gratitude to Betty-Lou Kristy, who, in her capacity as the Director of Support House Centre for Innovation in Peer Support, provided continuous support throughout the development of the strategy, as well as during the recruitment and implementation phases of this entire process. Betty-Lou is currently serving her third year as Chair of the Health Minister’s Patient and Family Advisory Council and is a former member of the AMHO Board of Directors.
The AMHO PWLLE Advisory Panel members (listed in alphabetical order):
- Alice Bellavance
- Dan Bolton
- Dean Valentine
- Eileen Starkman
- Harriet Kakinda
- Kavithan Sinnathamby
- Philip Longum
- Raphaela Fagundes
“I am delighted to announce the establishment of our Persons with Lived and Living Experience (PWLLE) Advisory Panel. AMHO is committed to placing the voices and expertise of PWLLE at the forefront of our work; and for PWLLE to help advise us on key priorities, policy initiatives and advocacy efforts. AMHO is excited to embark on this vital initiative, enabling meaningful collaboration to enhance health outcomes in the mental health and addiction sector.” – Alisha Tharani, CEO, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario
“I am thrilled to endorse AMHO’s engagement strategy and the establishment of their first-ever PWLLE Advisory Panel. Having contributed to the development of this strategy through my role as the Director of Support House Centre for Innovation in Peer Support, I am confident that this Panel will play a pivotal role in improving health outcomes and fostering inclusivity in the mental health and addictions sector. AMHO’s dedication to integrating the voices, knowledge, and expertise of Persons with Lived/Living Experience (PWLLE), along with family members and caregivers is commendable, and I am excited to witness the positive changes it will bring about.” – Betty-Lou Kristy, Director, Support House Centre for Innovation in Peer Support
“I am incredibly honored to be selected for the AMHO PWLLE Panel, and to be a part of advocating for progressive improvements in the Mental Health and Addiction community within Ontario. The opportunity to advocate on behalf of those who live with Mental Health and Addiction, along with my fellow panel members, provides a voice for those who directly comprehend what advances are required to help both individuals and family members seeking services.” – Eileen Starkman, Panel Member
“As a member of the inaugural PWLLE advisory I was encouraged by our first orientation meeting. The team has a vast spectrum of lived and living experience; our members are connected to a wide range of community organization. Both through the selection process and orientation the AMHO team really made me feel an authentic enthusiasm that the advisory would have influence and leverage in a co-design approach to AMHO’s policy and the development of advocacy initiative. Our first meeting exampled Safe Space and Meaningful Engagement of PLLWE and I look forward to learning more about the experiences of other members and how my own experience may shape and advance the direction of AMHO’s efforts to mobilize, advocate and serve.” – Dean Valentine, Panel Member