Advances in Mental Health, Vol 9, No 2 (2010)

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Building a “User Driven” Mental Health System

Lei Ning


Australian mental health system reform continues to be guided by an outdated vision to design a “perfect” mental health system. It is then expected that consumers and carers will fit in to it. From the experiences of the past 15 years it is clear that this approach is ineffective. The new vision of mental health system reform should embrace recovery and wellbeing principles to encourage consumer self-directedness and self-determination, and to support the individual consumer to build their own unique support system which wraps around their personal goals, needs and priorities. In order to advance mental health system reform, it must be responsive to, and driven by, consumer and carer needs. In conclusion, if consumer and carer participation continue to operate at a superficial level, Australian mental health system reform may spend another 15 years to wonder without achieving meaningful and substantial improvement. We have to gain a deeper understanding of “Nothing about us without us”.

Advances in Mental Health

ISSN 1837-4905
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