Authors: Kathleen Stacey, SA
Event: 1999 TheMHS Conference
Subject: CONSUMER MOVEMENT, book of proceedings
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Consumer participation in the mental health arena has grown over the past decade. This is the hard won result of persistent and considerable efforts, predominantly on the part of consumers and carers. These developments have come under increasing scrutiny and the term “professionalisation” of consumer participation has been used within the ranks of both workers and consumers, although more in the former. This paper will examine the implications of this term and invite people, particularly workers, to explore the dynamics of power hidden within it. It is proposed that some of the implications of this term have political effects that serve to undermine the progress achieved in the consumer participation movement and prevent a challenge to the status quo. Although the status quo in mental health has become unsettled, there has not yet been a transformation in mental health policy and service delivery that would enable workers to engage in consistently respectful and accountable partnerships with consumers. Ways of reaching this outcome may become more possible if a critical and reflective appreciation of the professionalisation of consumer participation is developed.