Being a Consumer Advocate by Dunc Macdonald

Over the last 7 ½ years, I have had the honor and privilege of being on the Salt Lake County Behavioral Health Services Advisory Board.  The role of this board is to advise the Mayor’s Office on subjects involving services around mental health and substance abuse in Salt Lake County.   My role was to give input based on my experience as a consumer, around how the resources were provided.

During my tenure, I got to know some of the key players on a first name basis including Optum, Select Health and the officers in the Behavioral Health division at Salt Lake County.   I also discovered some great cuisine.  I was part of a hiring committee which added 2 new people to the council.  During this time, I learned a great deal about how and when to voice my opinion and do so in a tactful way. At one point, I had to be reminded about not repeating myself too many times in a meeting.   I was, also, able to use my accounting knowledge to understand some PowerPoints.  This was especially useful while discussing the impact of the Affordable Care Act.   At one point, we were discussing the use of the jail for holding people with mental illnesses and I pointed out that if these individuals were to be connected to Alliance House they would have something to do besides going back to jail.

Once again, I had a great ride on this council and learned a great deal about myself and what it takes to be on a board.

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