Canadian Mental Health Association gathers client input to develop services

As the Canadian Mental Health Association office in Sudbury looks to develop its new strategic plan, it’s turning to the people who use its services for advice.

Association has three year plan that will focus on housing and shelter service programs

Patricia Pheasant helps Ryan Tomagatick showcase his artwork. Both are clients at the Canadian Mental Health Association's Harm Reduction Home. The CMHA is looking to expand that program and is getting feedback from clients who use it. (Kate Rutherford/CBC)

As the Canadian Mental Health Association office in Sudbury launches its new strategic plan, it's relying on the people who use its services for advice.

The agency put together the blueprint for the next three years based on conversations and input from its clients.

Stephanie Lefebvre, the manager of quality of strategic engagement, says it's important to get the clients involved.

"The thoughtfulness that goes into planning those in a collaborative way with people who use them is really huge," she said.

"So I would say a major focus for us is actually on the approach, it may not be on the project. It is the focus of the approach. How are we providing services and how are we involving people and family and care partners in that."

The agency delivers a variety of housing programs across the city. One of them is the Harm Reduction Home which offers a managed alcohol program. That program will expand from 8 to 15 places when it moves to the renovated Larch Street building in the fall.

Patricia Pheasant is one of the eight clients currently there. She says the program has been extremely beneficial to her.

"It's almost like getting your life back," she said.

"I find a lot of things that are being implemented that are helping change my life."

She's excited about the expansion of the program.

"Because theres' a lot of us who know each other that used to be out there," she said. "Like, we could help each other, and that's what makes it beautiful."

The Canadian Mental Health Association in Sudbury and Manitoulin is taking notes from the people who use their services. It's part of the CMHA's three-year strategic plan involving more consultation with their clients. Stephanie Lefebvre of the CMHA spoke about how that strategy will help. We also heard from a CMHA client about the importance of the services being offered. 6:17


With files from Kate Rutherford