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Because your voice matters.

Participant, Mental Health & Substance Use (MHSU) Website Focus Group



Commitment: Long-term

Connection method: Virtual

Open to Vancouver Island Region


Volunteer Opportunity
Would you like to have a say in how the new Island Health website for Mental Health and Substance Use looks and works? If yes, this is the opportunity for you! Join us remotely for two, 60 minute Focus Group sessions held over Zoom.


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

Island Health is refreshing it’s Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) website to be able to provide accessible information to patients. Focus Groups will take place with patient partners who have used the existing MHSU website so they can answer questions such as why they used the website, how they navigated the website and how access can be improved.

Level of Engagement
This opportunity is at the level of consult on the spectrum of engagement. The promise to you is that the health care partner will listen to and acknowledge your ideas and concerns and provide feedback on how your input affected the decision.

• Open to patient partners from: Vancouver Island region who:
Have knowledge of and experience with, using the Island Health Mental Health and Substance Use website
Are comfortable using Zoom to attend the focus group sessions
Please note:

    • This opportunity is not open to patient partners who are currently employed by Island Health
    • The placement process for this opportunity will not likely include an interview between the volunteer and the health care partner
    • Applicants must have previously attended a PVN orientation session and completed the Volunteer Agreement. 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

• Number of vacancies: 4-5
Date/Time: Focus group sessions will be scheduled Monday-Friday between 9-5. One session to be planned in July and the other in August
Location: Virtually, over Zoom
Commitment: one 30 minute prep session and two, 60 minute Focus Group sessions

No out of pocket expenses are anticipated for this engagement opportunity. However, 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.

As part of Island Health’s commitment to improve access to services for clients and families who interact with our Mental Health and Substance Use Services, we are working on a refresh of our public facing website. The website refresh will be handled by a small group at Island Health, including a co-op student, project manager and members of IM/IT services.

Potential risks include sharing sensitive information, such as why the participant accesses or has accessed the MHSU website, which some participants may find uncomfortable. However, members can refuse any questions they do not wish to answer and will be reminded of this before and at the beginning of each focus group. As discussing such content may be triggering, Island Health would like to acknowledge that practicing trauma-informed Patient Engagement is a priority for us. To deliver Focus Groups with a trauma-informed lens, the Health Care Partner leading the group will practice the core principles of: trauma awareness, safety, trustworthiness, choice and collaboration and building of strengths and skills.

Island Health is committed to securing and ensuring the confidentiality of any personal information shared by Patient Partners. Any information shared by Patient Partners is kept confidential unless approved by the patient partner to be shared. Island Health complies with the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). For further details on information privacy and rights, contact the Information Stewardship, Access & Privacy (ISAP) Office.

Health Care Partner Contact Information

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

From Our Community

Karla Warkotsch

Patient Experience Consultant – Interior Health

Karla Warkotsch

The question I like to ask health care employees is ‘Who is this for?’ and ‘Do we have the right people at the table?’ As a health care employee, I see how easy it is to fall into doing for, rather than doing with patients. The voices of the patient, family and caregiver are essential to ensure the patient is central to the direction and focus of the work being done.