, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 33-40

Service delivery using consumer staff in a mobile crisis assessment program

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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.

The contents of this paper were developed under a grant from the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Department of Education cooperative agreement number H133B00011, and the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Institutes and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. government. The authors would like to thank Jon Gershon, Travis Seymour, Randy Osuna, and Amy Nelson for their contributions to this research.
All the authors are affiliated with the Mental Health Services and Policy Program, Northwestern University Medical School, except for Judith Cook, who is the Director of the National Research and Training Center on Psychiatric Disability at the University of Illinois at Chicago.