Special Section: Consumers As Providers

Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 33-40

First online:

Service delivery using consumer staff in a mobile crisis assessment program

  • John S. LyonsAffiliated withMental Health Services and Policy Program, Northwestern University Medical School
  • , Judith A. Cook
  • , Amity R. Ruth
  • , Marc Karver
  • , Nancy B. Slagg

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Interest has developed in the use of mental health consumers as staff members in community programs for persons with serious mental illness. The present study investigates consumer service delivery in a mobile assessment program designed to assist homeless people with severe psychiatric disorders. Consumer and non-consumer staff were generally comparable. Results suggest that consumer staff engaged in more street outreach and were less often dispatched for emergencies. There was a trend for consumer staff to be more likely to certify their clients for psychiatric hospitalization. In sum, consumer staff appear to provide a valuable contribution to this form of service delivery.