Position Statement on Consumer Contributions to Mental Health Service Delivery System


The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) recognizes that former mental patients/mental health consumers have a unique contribution to make to the improvement of the quality of mental health services in many arenas of the service delivery system. The significance of their unique contributions stems from expertise they have gained as recipients of mental health services, in addition to whatever formal education and credentials they may have.

Their contribution should be valued and sought in areas of program development, policy formation, program evaluation, quality assurance, system designs, education of mental health service providers, and the provision of direct services (as employees of the provider system). Therefore, expatients/consumers should be included in meaningful numbers in all of these activities. In order to maximize their potential contributions, their involvement should be supported in ways that promote dignity, respect, acceptance, integration, and choice. Support provided should include whatever financial, educational, or social assistance is required to enable their participation.

Additionally, client-operated self-help and mutual support services should be available in each locality as alternatives and adjuncts to existing mental health service delivery systems. State financial support should be provided to ensure their viability and independence.

  • Developed by an Ad Hoc Committee on Consumer/Expatient Involvement meeting in Cambridge, Massachusetts, February 23, 1989.
  • Approved by Executive Committee of Human Resource Division of NASMHPD on June 13, 1989, for consideration by the full membership of the NASMHPD Human Resource Division for action at its annual meeting in October, 1989, in Omaha, Nebraska.
  • Approved by NASMHPD Board 12/12/89, and by Membership on 12/13/89 at Winter Commissioners/Directors meeting.