A Guide to PAIMI Advisory Councils Conducting Public forums in Institutional Settings

Katie Basford, Amy Trunnell- Morris, and Wayne Bassford

People with mental health concerns have the right to self-determination and to make major decisions about their lives and recovery. The PAIMI Advisory Council's role is to set the direction in which the PAIMI programs work to achieve the goals of self-determination, recovery, and the preservation of rights for people with mental health concerns. This interactive workshop will introduce the principles of the Georgia Advocacy Office's PAIMI Advisory Council's Public Forum work by explaining the steps taken by the Georgia PAC to conduct at least three public forums in adult mental health units and forensic institutional settings each fiscal year.

These public forums are conducted to gain public input into the needs of individuals in those institutions to better advise the PAIMI program on setting priorities, monitor the institution for violations of individual rights and report them to proper authority, and assist individuals with issues needing self-advocacy by informing and providing them written information about their rights. We will highlight how to conduct a public forum in state and private institutions, discuss the questions asked of peers about the quality of the care they are receiving, how to facilitate gathering data on the experiences of those confined there using a qualitative survey, and how we monitor facilities. We aim to educate and support other state PAC members with the steps necessary to conduct their own public forums.

Objectives

  1. As a result of this activity, the participant will be able to list the purpose of conducting a public forum to gather information about possible rights violations for people residing in institutions.
  2. As a result of this activity, the participant will be able to describe best practices for monitoring institutions and how to report findings to the proper authority.
  3. As a result of this activity, the participant will be able to identify opportunities to assist individuals with issues needing self-advocacy.
  4. As a result of this activity, the participant will be able to identify and discuss the critical differences between conducting a public forum on an adult mental health unit versus a forensic unit.