Toward the Implementation of Mental Health Consumer Provider Services

  • Matthew ChinmanEmail author
  • Alexander S. Young
  • Joseph Hassell
  • Larry Davidson
Regular Article


Encouraged by the New Freedom Commission, mental health systems such as the Veteran Administration (VA) are now becoming more recovery-oriented. Consumer providers (CPs)—those with serious mental illness who are further along in recovery who provide services to others with similar mental health problems—are viewed as a key part of this change. However, organizational change theories suggest that careful consideration of implementation issues is critical when disseminating new and sometimes controversial services into existing organizations. Therefore, to guide the dissemination of CP services, the literature on the effectiveness of CPs was reviewed, and interviews, focus groups, and a brief survey of 110 administrators, providers, and patients were conducted at three large VA clinics in Southern California. Questions focused on their perceptions of feasibility and acceptability of CP services. Using literature and study findings, an organizational change framework and other strategies to overcome potential implementation challenges of CP services are suggested.


Veteran Administration Health Assertive Community Treatment Mental Health System Serious Mental Illness Veteran Administration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The VA Health Services Research and Development Service (HSR&D) provided funding for this paper through support of Improving Care of Veterans by Using Consumers as Mental Health Providers (#IIR 02-009). Work on this paper was also supported by The Department of Veterans Affairs Desert Pacific Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC). We would like to thank Gery Ryan at RAND for his assistance with the qualitative methods used in this project. Any opinions expressed are only the authors' and do not necessarily represent the views of any affiliated institutions.


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Copyright information

© National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew Chinman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alexander S. Young
  • Joseph Hassell
  • Larry Davidson
  1. 1.Health Services UnitWest Los Angeles VA MIRECCLos AngelesUSA

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