For November National Family Caregivers Month, we are pleased to share our e-interview with Pat Hunt, executive director of the Family Run Executive Director Leadership Association FREDLA, on family support organizations and how they help families who are dealing with mental health issues.

Magellan: Pat, so glad to have you with us today. Tell us a little about how you came to the work of family leadership.

Pat Hunt: It’s always a pleasure to spend time with folks at Magellan. Like family leaders across the nation, my lived experience has continued to shape the pathway. As a parent, I didn’t want anyone else’s child to struggle the way mine did – or for other parents to have a similar experience as mine. I was so fortunate to have the benefit of allies in my state – other parents, people in state government, providers – all willing to be courageous and develop solutions together. I worked with 16 families across my state to develop a statewide family network with a vision toward positive change. As a family leader, I applied what I had learned from my experience as an advocate – which may be a misunderstood word today – to help other families understand the impact of policy on service array, practice, access, quality, etc. and to have the information, opportunities, skills and resources to effectively participate. This foundation took me to national organizations, such as the Federation of Families, Magellan and FREDLA.

Magellan: You became the executive director at FREDLA almost two years ago. What are you passionate about in your work at FREDLA?

Pat Hunt: Family-run organizations across the nation are the bloodline of the family experience – flowing from the heart of every family they serve. THEY touch lives in amazing ways. FREDLA is here to nourish and support their work – to ensure they have the tools and support they need to be successful, viable and sustainable. That means we also help states, counties, practitioners, health plans and management organizations by providing consultation and training – because they are interdependent in achieving the positive outcomes for children, youth and their families.

Magellan: What should we be looking forward to in the next year on developments in the family support field?

Pat Hunt: 2020 has taught us that the efforts of peer family support partners have been nothing short of herculean during the most challenging of times. They are innovative, dedicated and resilient. The results of FREDLA’s recent national survey will be released soon and used to inform workforce development, technical assistance, national advocacy efforts and research programs. In March, we will be hosting a national event to respond to the needs of parent peer support providers, their supervisors and the funders and management of their programs. Stay tuned, and we hope your audience will as well.


Pat HuntPat Hunt is the executive director of FREDLA, the national Family Run Executive Director Leadership Association, a non-profit union of leaders of grassroots family-run organizations across the nation. Along with her lived experience as a parent, Pat brings over 25 years of experiences as an advocate for children with behavioral health needs and their caregivers. During this time, she had extensive experience overseeing both federal and state grants and served as the founding director of a family-run organization.

Pat’s experience includes over 10 years in a corporate leadership role at Magellan Healthcare to advance best practices for children, youth and their families, and to ensure that their experiences informed policies, practices and program development. She previously held a senior leadership position as a conduit for local grassroots experience to inform national policy decisions at the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. She has served as a VISTA Volunteer, directed a federally funded rural substance abuse prevention project, managed a statewide family-run organization, served as president of the Maine’s mental health planning council, and was the only non-state employee member invited to the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet.

 This is an excerpt from the Magellan Healthcare eMpowered for Wellness November newsletter. To read the full article, go here.