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Set up to fail? Consumer participation in the mental health service system
Objective: The aim of this paper is to present the findings of a survey of consumers of mental health services who are working (in either paid or unpaid positions) in NSW Health and in the Non Government Organisation sector in NSW.
Method: A survey was distributed through the NSW Consumer Advisory Group newsletter to elicit the roles and assess the training needs of consumer employees, as well as those who were working in voluntary capacities as consumer representatives, within the mental health system in NSW.
Results: Many mental health consumers have been placed in the untenable position of being engaged in representation and/or advocacy roles with unclear job descriptions and no training. The majority of consumers want a code of ethics and performance standards for consumer workers.
Conclusions: The rhetoric of consumer participation is not matched by effective and timely strategies that ensure that consumer involvement is underpinned by relevant training and supportive infrastructure. The goal of meaningful consumer participation in mental health services, as outlined in policy, is yet to be achieved.
Publication titleAustralasian Psychiatry
Department/SchoolStudent Life and Enrichment
PublisherSage Publications Ltd.
Place of publicationUK
Rights statementCopyright 2008 The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists