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Because your voice matters.

Member, Island Health MHSU Advisory Committee



Commitment: Long-term

Connection method: Virtual

Open to Vancouver Island Region


Volunteer Opportunity
Join the Island Health Mental Health and Substance Use Advisory Committee to share your lived experience, or a family member’s lived experience, and offer input and recommendations into planning, delivery and evaluations of Island Health Services.


Lead Organization/Department
Island Health, Mental Health and Substance Use

We are a committe made up of mental health clients, family members, service providers and Island Health representatives. We provide Island Health with information, advice, recommendations and feedback related to the planning, implementation and evaluation of mental health services and policies. We work together to provide feedback to Island Health concerning the needs of patients and families in mental health services. One example of committee meeting agenda items includes our Community Recognition Awards allocation process, where community members are awarded for their actions championing positive mental health and or substance use outcomes.

On this committee, patient partners will:
• Attend monthly committee meetings
• Share their lived experience with the committee members
• Offer input and recommendations into planning, delivery and evaluations of Island Health Services
• Be part of the Community Recognition Awards allocation process
• Offer feedback on forms, pamphlets, evaluations or questionnaires that MHSU clients utilize.

Level of Engagement
This opportunity is at the level of collaborate on the spectrum of engagement. The promise to you is that the health care partner will work together with you to formulate solutions and incorporate your advice and recommendations into the decisions to the maximum extent possible.

• Open to patient partners from: Vancouver Island region
• Lived or living experience (personal or family) with mental health or substance use.
• Patient partners give a lot of themselves: time, energy, and the sharing of personal stories or experiences that may be difficult. It is important that this not be done at the expense of your own health/wellbeing. There is a potential risk that patient partners may experience emotional distress through reflecting on and sharing their care experiences.  With this in mind, we ask that you only consider participating if you feel it would be safe and comfortable for you to do so.
• Please note:
– This opportunity, as with all Island Health patient engagement opportunities, is not open to Island Health staff members or patient partners who are currently employed by Island Health. If you have questions regarding this, please email
– The placement process for this opportunity may include an informal interview between the volunteer and the health care partner.
– Applicants must have previously attended a PVN orientation session and completed the Patient Partner Commitments form. If you have not attended an orientation session but you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Charmaine Niebergall directly to see if accommodations may be possible.
– As required by the October 14, 2021 Public Health Order released by the Provincial Health Officer, proof of vaccination is required to access any in-person meetings at an Island Health site. Proof of vaccination can be provided by way of a Vaccination Passport or Vaccination card, along with government issued photo ID. For patient partnership activities that are virtual only (via Zoom, video conference, phone, etc.), proof of vaccination is not required.

• Number of vacancies: 2
• Date/Time:
– once a month
– 1:00pm – 2:30pm
– additional time will be needed occasionally to review written materials
• Location: currently meetings are by videoconference using Zoom. When in-person meetings return, the location will be at the EMP Pavilion at The Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria. When in-person meetings resume, all safety protocols will be followed according to Island Health and the Provincial Health Office’s requirements.
• Commitment: one year with a possibility of extension

No out-of-pocket expenses are anticipated for this engagement opportunity. If you meet the eligibility criteria but have concerns about your ability to participate, please contact Charmaine Niebergall to see if support options are available. We are always seeking to better understand and reduce barriers to participation.

The Island Health Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) Advisory Committee was established in 2010 as a partnership of mental health clients, family members, service providers and representatives of Island Health to improve health outcomes for the people it serves, make its resources more sustainable and enhance the experience of patients, family and service providers. Key objectives are to provide Island Health with recommendations related to the planning, implementation and evaluation of mental health services and policies as well as feedback concerning unmet needs of patients and families, namely gaps in mental health services. MHSU receives an annual budget from Island Health that covers committee expenses, including financial assistance to attend workshops and conferences.

Some of the areas that the committee has provided input are: Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria; anti-stigma initiatives including the concerns of the anti-violence signs posted throughout BC hospitals; and reviews of various operational plans and services. In 2015, the MHSU Advisory Committee established the annual Community Recognition Awards for two individuals and organizations performing acts of kindness and compassion in their communities. The recipients receive original works of art from local artists as part of the award.

Health Care Partner Contact Information

Charmaine Niebergall Engagement Leader, Patient & Public Engagement | Vancouver Island 778.700.2064

From Our Community

Nancy J. Wood

Patient Partner, Sidney

Nancy J. Wood

I was thrilled to discover the Patient Voices Network, where the array of places to be the voice of a patient is vast and incredibly interesting. Besides my ongoing “gig” with the BC Emergency Medicine Network, I have enjoyed being involved in several one-off initiatives. I love working with professionals who genuinely value the perspectives of their patient partners.