The BasicNeeds Community Planning Meeting this month drew 30 participants who shared ideas about reducing stigma for individuals with mental health challenges, improving access to resources and transportation, and helping young people acquire the “soft skills” they need to achieve their goals.
BasicNeeds is a model for working with communities around mental health. The consumer-driven model has produced outstanding outcomes in a dozen countries. A BasicNeeds pilot project in Detroit is being implemented by Southwest Solutions. It is the first of its kind in the United States and is funded by the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority.
The July Community Planning Meeting followed up on a meeting in April in which participants identified certain themes to guide discussions going forward. Community Meetings are integral to the BasicNeeds model to exchange ideas, solve problems through a collective and inclusive approach in which those personally connected with the issues have a strong voice, and build a diverse coalition to advocate for positive change.
At the July meeting, after an overview presentation, participants divided into two groups. One group discussed the question: What are bold ways we can promote an anti-stigma community for both young people and adults? The other group discussed: What are practical and innovative ways to bridge the challenges of transportation and resource navigation?
The group focused on reducing stigma and assisting youth discussed and detailed initiatives in these four strategic areas:
- Developing local advocacy campaign to raise awareness
- Promoting community acceptance
- Creating multi-media strategies to promote dialogue
- Promoting tools for community engagement and education
The group focused on increasing access to transit and resources proposed innovative strategies related to technology, transportation options, communications, training, funding, and consumer engagement.