The role of self-help in mental health has become the object of increasing interest and scrutiny. Mental health advocates have become more effective in articulating consumer perspectives on helpful and less helpful aspects of professional and other treatment programs. The Surgeon General’s report on mental health includes consumer self-help and consumer-operated programs among noteworthy ancillary services and supports. At the same time, mental health services researchers are giving more explicit attention to theory in examining how it is that services achieve their effectiveness, and treatment researchers are looking more closely at the role of clients and consumers as agents in their own recovery. In this context, the Center for Mental Health Services (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has established the Consumer-Operated Service Program (COSP). The primary purpose of this multi-site research initiative is to discover to what extent consumer-operated programs are effective as an adjunct to traditional mental health services in improving the lives of adults with serious mental illness. The collaborative research design is complete, and sites are in the field. Cross-site and site-specific research designs include both traditional and consumer-identified outcome domains as well as careful measurement of hypothesized critical program elements identified by consumers as the “common ingredients” of their services. Representing the research group at one of the sites, the authors discuss proposed theoretical underpinnings for consumer-operated programs, relating identified program ingredients and their practice to current knowledge about therapeutic and other types of change.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to: 1) Identify key elements in consumer operated programs. 2) Identify important mechanisms for change and recovery, particularly for persons with severe mental illness. 3) Recognize the theoretical relevance of consumer-operated program elements in fostering participant recovery
Keywords: Consumer Direction, Theory
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA