The mental health department in the State of Oregon is discussing the possibility of a proposal for a state-wide office of mental health consumer affairs.

State of Oregon considers office of mental health consumer affairs

State of Oregon is considering an office of mental health consumer affairs.


Date:     June 27, 2008 4:26:11 PM PDT
Subject:     Oregon Office of Consumer/Survivor Affairs – please share your views

June 27, 2008

To: Members of the Oregon Consumer/Survivor Council and other Interested Parties
From: Michael Hlebechuk, Council chair
Re: Formulation of Office of Consumer/Survivor Affairs

Your input is needed to help shape a proposal for an Oregon Office of Consumer/Survivor Affairs. Please provide your input as soon as you can. I need to pass your ideas on to Bob Nikkel by the middle of next week (July 1 or 2).

As you may know, since the time the Office of Consumer/Survivor Technical Assistance (OCTA) lost its state funding in 2002 Oregon has been one of a handful of states that does not have an Office of Consumer Affairs or equivalent. Bob Nikkel would like to change that by gaining an allocation within the Governor’s budget for the funding of such an office. If approved, this funding would begin during the 2009 – 2011 biennium. The mechanism for getting this funding approved is called a Policy Option Package (POP). Your help in shaping this POP is what I am seeking through this e-mail.

There are two primary options for this office: 1) an internal office of consumer/survivor affairs that would sit within the Addictions and Mental Health Division (or possibly the Governor’s Advocacy Office); or 2) an external office of consumer/affairs that would sit independent of the Addictions and Mental Health Division and operate as either its own 501 c(3) or under the umbrella of another not-for-profit or similar organization. OCTA was an external office, for example.

Please review the attached PDF documents. One of the documents outlines the scope of work for an internal office of consumer affairs. The other document relates to an external office of consumer affairs. Also, the document that relates to the internal office has a highlighted work element. This is due to its having met with some measure of controversy. That element, as will all other elements, is subject being removed or amended. Your input will help decide this. Please send your input via reply or via “reply all” e-mail.

In addition, you may choose to recommend a work element from the internal office for the external office or visa versa. And, of course, you may elect to recommend a work element that does not appear in either document.

Please note that I am using the terms consumer and consumer/survivor interchangeably. Basically, we are people who… For example, I am a person who has experienced severe mood swings and has heard voices and seen visions and does not like labels like consumer or even survivor but uses them to keep within recognized convention.

Thank you for your help,


Michael Hlebechuk
Residential Supports Coordinator
Community Housing, Employment & Supports
Oregon Department of Human Services
Addictions and Mental Health Division (AMH)
500 Summer St. NE, E-86
Salem, OR 97301-1118
Phone: (503) 947-5536
Fax: (503) 378-8467

“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
~ John F. Kennedy