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Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2012 Jul;25(4):317-21. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e32835462d0.

What has been learned from joint working between mental health professionals, patients and users of psychiatric services, their families and friends?

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  • 1School of Social Policy, Birmingham University, Birmingham, UK.



To outline what is known about collaborative work between the main stakeholders in mental health and psychiatry (professionals, patients or service users and family members). To learn from recent practice what are the main areas of joint work, what is working well, what are the key issues and problems and what has been learned from doing it.


Service users and family members are valued in education and training. Service users as peer support workers have helped patients recover, and methods of participatory research can bring new insights. There is a need to support and build an evidence base for these new ways of working.


The run-down of institutions, the new paradigm of recovery and human rights laws have led to increased joint working in the field of law and policy, research, education and training, service provision and coercion. Joint working challenges the old ways of knowledge creation and practices such as coercive treatment. More work is needed to build on what is being learned and move to genuine equality and partnership.

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