Epidemiologia e Psichiatria Sociale

Inclusion and Mental Health in the New Europe

User/consumer involvement in mental health service delivery

Judi Chamberlina1 c1

a1 Director of Education and Training, National Empowerment Center, Lawrence, Massachusetts (USA)

Summary

The involvement of mental health service users in service delivery is a new and growing phenomenon. Such involvement is complex, given the history of paternalism in the mental health system, the power differential between service providers and service users, and the very differing views each group holds on multiple issues. Unless such differences are addressed, there can be no meaningful involvement. Service user involvement needs to apply to all aspects of the service delivery system, including professional training, service design, delivery, evaluation, and research. User/survivors, and their organizations, have developed a body of experience and knowledge that needs to be recognized and respected. Unless there are multiple opportunities for ongoing and open dialogue on these many difficult issues, real user involvement will not occur.

Declaration of Interest: the author has received no financial support that presents a conflict of interest.

(Received November 06 2004)

(Accepted November 06 2004)

Correspondence

c1 Address for correspondence: Dr. J. Chamberlin. Education and Training, National Empowerment Center, 599 Canal Street, Lawrence. Massachusetts 01840 (USA). Fax: 1-978-681.6426 E-mail: MadPride@aol.com