Patrick McNamara, president and CEO of Palm Health Foundation, shares his perspective on BeWellPBC’s role in systems change, the work to transform Palm Beach County’s behavioral health system of care.”I think most people would agree that our county has a complex behavioral health system. We’re not unlike many other communities that have evolved over time to become a patchwork of services driven by power dynamics and economics. We don’t always include the voice of the people we design services for, and in a state where Florida is 50th in the nation for per capita mental health spending, providers are focused on survival, making them risk averse to change. BeWellPBC was created to be a system change agent. Here are four ways their role is integral to transforming behavioral health.”
1. Fostering greater interdependence.
Through BeWellPBC, funders of behavioral health services are seeing themselves as stewards of shared community resources rather than siloed investments each organization makes on its own (see ReThink Health example below). We are building our civic muscle with BeWellPBC at the helm to facilitate meaningful collaboration.
2. Encouraging risk-taking.
Interdependence fosters strength and resilience to take shared risks through “safe to fail” initiatives. BeWellPBC asks three questions: What can we change? Of the things we can change, can we monitor impact? Can we rapidly amplify successor recover from failure?
3. Moving to a family-centered, recovery-oriented system of care.
Behavioral health has struggled with how to integrate the informal resources of friends, family, faith and people with lived experience. BeWellPBC is honoring the voice of the community and providing a wider lens that includes not only mental illness, but mental wellness.
4. Facilitating new solutions.
There are many well-intentioned, fragmented community collaborative efforts. BeWellPBC has a seat at every table and acts as an aggregator and a promotor of inclusivity. BeWellPBC helps to bring form to new solutions that are currently in the works. BeWellPBC is a true convener.