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Consumerism in mental health began in protest against inhuman treatment received in psychiatric hospitals. It continues today in consumer involvement in a wide array of venues. Consumers are still involved in advocating against inhuman and harmful treatment and in advocating for effective mental health services that are provided with dignity and respect. Consumers are also involved in providing support and sustenance for each other in both informal and formal ways: in mutual self-help and in the provision of consumer-operated services. They are also involved in designing, conducting, and participating in research; and in participating in policy making bodies at the local, state and federal levels. This paper outlines the many ways in which consumers have been and continue to be involved in impacting mental health treatment, research, and policy. (Authors)
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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