Advocates from the Texas Family Voice Network (TxFVN) gathered for a panel presentation on January 16 to inform Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) staff about the significance of including families in all state initiatives — from planning, to implementation, to evaluation.
The panel — which was comprised of Barbara Granger, Donna Fagan, Julie Bourne, Verlyn Johnson, and Stephany Bryan — marked the first in a series focused on behavioral health equity within the Texas HHSC.
The family leaders shared very personal, sometimes painful, stories of what brought them to the TxFVN , and highlighted the life-saving role advocacy and peer support has played in their lives.
“My proudest moment in my work is being chosen to be a parent of a child with mental health conditions,” said TxFVN State Co-Lead Barbara Granger. “I tell her, ‘Thank you for the gift of my job.’”
The event concluded with a brainstorming session between the panelists and Texas HHSC staff to come up with potential ways to effectively integrate family voices into state systems.
“(Change) is not just about the systems, but it can start with systems talking to systems,” said family leader and Senior Program Officer and Consumer and Family Liaison for the Hogg Foundation Stephany Bryan. “Having systems work together eases the burden of a behavioral health diagnosis for everybody involved.”
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