, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 47-67

Consumers as community support providers: Issues created by role innovation

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Abstract

Using data from a CSP-funded research demonstration project designed to expand vocational services offered by case management teams serving people with serious mental illness, this paper examines the issues created by employing consumers as peer support specialists for the project. Roles and benefits of these positions are analyzed. Challenges experienced by specialists created by serving peers, the structure of the position, the mental health system and the community, and personal issues are analyzed using data from focus groups and the project's management information system. Implications for consumer role definition, supports for role effectiveness, and the structuring of these types of positions are discussed.