Mental Health Self-Help

pp 155-167

Consumer-Run Drop-In Centers: Current State and Future Directions

  • Louis D. BrownAffiliated withPrevention Research Center, The Pennsylvania State University
  • , Scott WitukAffiliated withCenter for Community Support and Research, Wichita State University
  • , Greg MeissenAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Wichita State University

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Consumer-run drop-in centers are a popular form of mental health self-help that typically requires external funding. The drop-in center can serve as a foundation for many other organizational pursuits. In addition to organizing recreational activities, drop-in centers can host self-help groups, bring in speakers from the community, offer classes to members, organize public awareness campaigns about mental illness, volunteer in the community, and work with policy makers to improve the public mental health system. This chapter will review research on several different facets of these organizations including their activities, organizational structure, evidence base, funding support, and community relations. Strategies to enhance the organizational effectiveness and peer support of consumer run drop-in centers are outlined with attention to enhancing empowerment and recovery. The chapter concludes by considering future directions for research and practice.