South Carolina Department of Mental Health
Office of Consumer Affairs
 

 About Consumer Affairs Coordinators Positions

Recruitment of Consumer Affairs Coordinators (CAC)

Given the increasing involvement of self-identified consumers in the mental health system, it is highly recommended that Consumer Affairs Coordinators be hired for full time work, or that two individuals be hired on a part-time basis to job-share a CAC position.

It is not recommended that the CAC position description contain responsibilities of the Client Advocate position.  These are two separate and distinct positions.  The Client Advocate position handles individual complaints made at an individual agency; the Consumer Affairs Coordinator position should be focused on quality improvement, education and awareness, and systems improvement issues.

#1.  The Consumer Affairs Coordinator position is a management position. The applicant will participate in planning, policy-making, decision-making and/or program evaluation activities of the center.

#2.  Like other state employees, a Consumer Affairs Coordinator will be paid according to what they are going to do in the position and the duties they are required to perform.  Experience will be valued as it relates to the position, including work experience and relevant life experience, such as education, training, and having recovered from a mental illness.

A minimum of a high school education is required for this position. Experience as a primary consumer of mental health services (either inpatient or outpatient/ public or private) is also required.

#3.  Relevant self help abilities and a positive, recovery orientation and work history are required for Consumer Affairs Coordinators.  Excellent communications skills are also required.

 Position Description

#1.  The Consumer Affairs Coordinator self-identifies as a primary consumer of mental health services on local, state, and national levels.

#2.  The Consumer Affairs Coordinator serves on Management Team, and attends Governing Body meetings of the center or facility. The applicant provides a consumer perspective at management team discussions and committee meetings, and at Governing Body meetings, and performs tasks which bring about positive outcomes in the areas of destigmatization and consumer empowerment.

#3. The Consumer Affairs Coordinator attends the monthly meetings of Consumer Affairs Coordinators as facilitated by the SCDMH Office of Consumer and Family Affairs.  Attendance at key Department events such as presentations by the Consumer Affairs Coordinators to the Mental Health Commission, presentations to members of the SCDMH Management Team, Assembly, PI Committee and the Clinical Care/Coordination Committee,  the Palmetto Pride Recovery Retreat, CCET training, and national consumer conferences and meetings are also expected.

#4.  The Consumer Affairs Coordinator chairs or facilitates a local Consumer Advisory Board for the Mental Health Center comprised primarily of primary adult consumers who receive services from the local mental health center system.

Tasks frequently included in Consumer Affairs Coordinator position desciptions:

1.         Regular participation at Management Team meetings and at Center Board of Directors Meetings.

2.         Attendance and active participation at facility and departmental meetings and task forces.

3.         Quality improvement/customer satisfaction initiatives such as maintaining suggestion boxes at service sites, doing customer satisfaction surveying, facilitating quality improvement dialogues with primary consumers and staff, creating referral directories, printed orientation manuals,  and consumer education materials, etc.

4.         New employee orientation to consumer empowerment and recovery philosophies, including SCDMH’s commitment to consumer and family involvement in all aspects of agency activities.

5.         Anti-stigma/destigmatization educational presentations to local churches, Lions, Kiwanis, business chambers, retired professional groups, schools and colleges.        

6.         Billable clinical duties as appropriate such as peer support, medication information groups and involvement with utilization review.

7.         Special events and activities such as consumer/staff recognition awards, voter registration/voter transportation, empowerment/recovery seminars for consumers and staff.

8.         Involvement with local chapters of SC Share, SC Independent Living Council, Alliance for the Mentally Ill consumer groups, and the Mental Health Association Consumer Council (CORE).

9.       Involvement in Client Advocacy Program activities as a peer reviewer and to provide peer support and education to consumers and families throughout such disputes. 

For additional information, please contact

Katherine Roberts, M.P.H.  
Director, Office of Client Affairs
South Carolina Department of Mental Health, Suite 308
2414 Bull Street - P.O. Box 485
Columbia, South Carolina 2920

Email: kmr50@scdmh.org

Phone: (803) 898-8304
Fax:  (803) 898-8590

Last updated:  July 7, 2005

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