The Asian and Pacific Islander Consumer Leadership Council (API CLC) was developed in FY 2011 by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON) Mental Health Committee. This project was funded by the LA County Department of Mental Health, through the API UREP, to develop organizational and community capacity. The primary function of the API Consumer Leadership is to promote advocacy by relaying the API community’s interests, service requests and service needs to DMH and other policy makers. This project has paved the way for our API communities to build consumer leaders to be a voice and to advocate on behalf of API’s interest and needs to the larger mental health community.
To develop the API CLC, the A3PCON Mental Health Committee conducted Outreach & Engagement meetings in Service Areas 3, 4, and 8. Consumers in other Service Areas also attended. These meetings were attended by over 100 API consumers and more than 60 expressed interest in joining the API CLC. Out of 29 applicants interviewed, 17 members were selected to the first API Consumer Leadership Council in December, 2011. One third of the members did not speak English. Half of the members did not have any advocacy or leadership experience. The API CLC voted its first officers in February 2012. Additionally, bylaws were established and approved by CLC members in March 2012.
To prepare the members for their work, training in the public Mental Health System, Leadership, Advocacy and Self-care were provided by various professional and consumers advocates. Additional trainings focused on the Recovery Model, Stress Management, Public Speaking, and Cultural Competency to increase the leadership and advocacy skills of the members. These training gave CLC members the confidence and necessary tools to actively participate in county-wide and community meetings sharing inputs as an API consumer.
One of the major task in community immersion for CLC members includes being an active particpant in the planning process for the API Hope & Recovery Conference. This year’s theme: “Enriching Our Lives, With a Little Help From Our Friend”, inspired by Ron Schraiber (long time mental health consumer advocates) gave our CLC members the opportunity to utlize their skills and talents in order to participate as an active partner in the planning process for the annual Asian Pacific Islander Hope & Recovery Conference. API CLC along with other API consumers, and API service providers planned alongside with the Department of Mental Health the core of its annual conference. The annual API Hope & Recovery conference was held on October 24th, 2012 at the DoubleTree Hilton hotel in Culver City. Everyone enjoyed a day of gathering, dialogue and learning from each other through various workshops ranging from Meditation, Tai Chi, API TAY panel, and Coping with PTSD (Dr. Sam Keo). A bigger part of the workshop was the Recovery panel led by API consumers and the leadership and advocacy panel presented by the API Consumer Leadership Council. Our CLC members shared the importance of being an active participant in their own recovery process, which for many of our members culminated with the participation in the Consumer Leadership Council.
Updates & Training
Asian Client Coalition in collaboration with the Center for Nonprofit Management and the LAC Department of Mental Health will host a conference on Leadership & Advocacy on Friday, March 15th, 2013 at the California Endownment Center. Conference is free to consumers, families and staffs! Lunch will be provided and space is limited. Please click here for more information. Please click here for more information, Asian Client Coalition – Conference Flyer. Registration form, please click here (Registration Form 2013).
API CLC members wrapping up after class to celebrate the Asian Lunar New Year at a local community restaurant. Members expressed warm wishes and words of thanksgiving to all those who made the API CLC a reality!