Consumer Staff and the Role of Personal Experience in Mental Health Services
Social Work in Mental Health
The unique contributions of consumer staff are increasingly being recognized in mental health settings. However, little attention has been given to these workers’ use of personal experience, a key qualification for these positions. Through fieldwork and semi-structured interviews with consumer and non-consumer staff, we explore what personal experience means, how it is used, and how and when it is disclosed. Our findings indicate a lack of training in applying these skills and tension over “professionalism.” Without attention to these issues, organizations using consumer staff may fail to fully realize their contributions while causing increased stress for consumer staff.
Colson, Paul W. and Francis, Linda E., "Consumer Staff and the Role of Personal Experience in Mental Health Services" (2009). Sociology & Criminology Faculty Publications. Paper 55.
Paul Colson & Linda Francis. (2009). Consumer Staff and the Role of Personal Experience in Mental Health Services. Social Work in Mental Health, 7(4), 385-401, doi: 10.1080/15332980802237735