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Can Ment Health. 1989 Jun;37(2):22-5.

User involvement in the mental health field in Canada.


This article defines "user involvement" as any process in which users (in this instance, persons commonly referred to as "the chronically mentally ill") can exercise some control over decisions that affect their lives. The authors discuss the state of user involvement in the mental health field in Canada, using examples from the literature and from practice. They describe three categories of involvement: consumer control, coalitions/partnerships, and consumer participation. A focus on power reflects the authors' belief that the growth of user involvement depends on the rate at which power relationships change within the mental health field. Within several sectors of society, traditional responses to mental health issues are being re-thought. Increased user involvement is both a key factor in and an important outcome of the re-thinking process. However, important obstacles remain, notably lack of financial and attitudinal support for user involvement.

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