Consumer Staff in Psychiatric Inpatient Facilities

  • Joann O'Connor Director, Winnebago Mental Health Institute
  • Larry Schomer Consumer Service Advocate, Winnebago Mental Health Institute


"Self-help " and "recovery " are difficult concepts to convey to staff and patients in an inpatient facility. When a mental health consumer was hired to work as a full-time permanent staff member, patients and staff began to understand the real meaning of recovery. This narrative describes the process of building staff trust in the concept, educating patients and staff about the role of the consumer advocate, and the startling successes of the program.

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