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Consumer advocacy has emerged as an important factor in mental health policy during the past few decades. Winning consumer support for evidence-based practices requires recognition that consumers' desires and needs for various types of treatments and services differ significantly. The authors suggest that the degree of support for evidence-based practices by consumer advocates depends largely on the degree of disability of the persons for whom they are advocating. Advocates such as members of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, who focus on the needs of the most seriously disabled consumers, are most likely to be highly supportive of research that is grounded in evidence-based practices. On the other hand, advocates who focus more on the needs of consumers who are further along their road to recovery are more likely to be attracted to the recovery model. Garnering the support of this latter group entails ensuring that consumers, as they recover, are given increasing autonomy and greater input about the types of treatments and services they receive. The authors suggest ways to integrate evidence-based practices with the recovery model and then suggest a hybrid theory that maximizes the virtues and minimizes the weaknesses of each model. (Authors)
Psychiatric Services
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services