Board Blog

Secretary

David Le Vine, LMSW

Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Specialist, Renesselaer Co. Dept. of Mental Health

Schoharie Hears About CAPS

In October, 2010, I spoke in Schoharie County to service providers from the local mental health clinic there, the County DSS, and representatives from RSS. I had been invited to speak about the successes of people moving from participation in public mental health programs to competitive employment as someone who has worked in the public mental health system since 1995. A significant part of my presentation covered what I had been part of as Director of the Consumer Drop-In Center from 1997-2001.

I spoke about the sense of community that we have that makes people feel connected and supported to peers in recovery. I also mentioned the variegated cultural backgrounds of members of CDIC, the fact that differences are accepted and that those differences make the Center welcoming to everyone. I mentioned the people that I knew who had secured competitive employment in the community but yet kept coming back to CDIC to reconnect with friends. In addition, CAPS in general has always been a place that has given people many second chances. People are not turned away because of a bad moment or bad day. We have always understood that everyone makes mistakes.

CAPS has also always been an agency in which the employees go a little further than is expected to assist others. The employees have always expanded their job roles in an attempt to facilitate success for those individuals who have received services from our agency. We have always been very person-centered. In other words, we always put the goals of the people whom we serve first as a priority.

All of the above is not to say that we have not had our problems at CAPS. The agency has weathered some tough times but we continue to survive. In fact, I would say that after a tough few years we are showing marked improvements in financial health, organization, quality of services, and leadership.

I think that we all should take this time during May is Mental Health Month to reflect on what this agency has always stood for and what we hope for CAPS for the future. We are making our future as we speak, and as a peer-run agency it is important that we all take on responsibility for positive change. We will be what we make it.

Category: Board Blog