Engagement opportunity with the Provincial Mental Health and Substance Use Network


The Provincial Mental Health and Substance Use Network is inviting people with lived/ living experience (PWLLE, including families) to participate in a Zoom focus group in mid-January. Please see the following details.



In 2016, the Office of the Auditor General’s (OAG) Report, indicated that there are long standing system level gaps that prevent certain groups of people from having their complex mental health and substance use (MHSU) needs meet.

The evidence shows that supporting client/patient-identified priorities, ultimately leads to better outcomes. The Provincial MHSU Network (Network) is leading a needs assessment aimed at gathering the perspective and insights directly from PWLLE of complex needs related to MHSU and other issues. This includes people with complex needs due to severe MHSU issues or MH and/or SU issues and:

  • developmental/ intellectual disabilities;
  • acquired brain injury;
  • histories of extreme violence and/or current aggression or;
  • involvement with criminal justice system

The Network partnered with a unique group of Lived Experience Advisors and Partners (LEAP). The self-named team, whose wisdom, expertise and passion plays a critical role in ensuring the perspective of people with complex needs related to MHSU issues, inform the Network’s activities. These perspectives let the Network to align with the principle of “nothing about us, without us,” which in practice means that PWLLE be included in the design and implementation of programs, policies and services. The LEAP is co-chaired by Anita David, lived experience strategic advisor and Krista English, senior Network lead.

We acknowledge that everyone brings a unique perspective and set of experiences; and we would like to learn more from the groups mentioned above as well as those from rural and remote settings.

The focus groups will be 90 minutes and facilitated over Zoom (camera and stable internet are required) by Anita David, lived experience strategic advisor. We would like to schedule for the weeks of Jan 9 and Jan 16, 2023. Groups have 5-6 participants. Honorarium is provided in line with PHSA’s compensation playbook. We will ask about perspectives on topics like: transitions between services, housing and housing supports and person-centered care etc. If you are interested, please reply to [email protected] before Jan 13, 2023.

We look forward to connecting and learning together.

Krista and Anita