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It's Not About Us is a guide to improving the client experience with the mental health and addiction system across Canada. It examines the traditional and current pathology-oriented medical model within which all of our services are built. It looks at the ways in which that model prevents the transformation we need if we want to really change our system. This book presents a new way to think about what it means to be client-centered, not only at an individual level, but also at the level of system design and operation. It is based on compelling principles and a real success story - a program in Nova Scotia that transformed its way of providing service, according to a new way of defining and understanding what it means to be client-centered. This program significantly improved quickness and ease of access for clients, and also enhanced its capacity to prevent addictions and mental illness.
In Canada, many have tried to improve services. They have instinctively called for more money and more therapists and psychiatrists, or have focused on improving clinical skills of staff. Unfortunately, that simply perpetuates more of the same problematic approach, one that has repeatedly failed to address the concerns of the clients and the public.
What has not yet happened is the one fundamental thing that is required. We need to change the perspective used to design all components of the system. We need to replace our traditional model that is designed from an expert and management-focused viewpoint, and start to look at the system the way clients and the public see and experience it. If you or a loved one have been affected by addiction and mental health issues, and have tried to or wanted to advocate for change in the system, this book will help you know how to do that. If you work in the mental health and addiction system in Canada, this book will help guide you through a more fundamental change than we have seen in many decades.
It is time for change ... and this is a call to action.