Improving exchange with consumers within mental health organizations

Recognizing mental ill health experience as a 'sneaky, special degree'

Brett Scholz, Julia Bocking, Brenda Happell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    Stigmatizing views towards consumers may be held even by those working within mental health organizations. Contemporary mental health policies require organizations to work collaboratively with consumers in producing and delivering services. Using social exchange theory, which emphasises mutual exchange to maximise benefits in partnership, the current study explores the perspectives of those working within organizations that have some level of consumer leadership. Interviews were conducted with 14 participants from a range of mental health organizations. Data were transcribed, and analyzed using thematic analytic and discursive psychological techniques. Findings suggest stigma is still prevalent even in organizations that have consumers in leadership positions, and consumers are often perceived as less able to work in mental health organizations than non-consumers. Several discourses challenged such a view - showing how consumers bring value to mental health organizations through their expertise in the mental health system, and their ability to provide safety and support to other consumers. Through a social exchange theory lens, the authors call for organizations to challenge stigma and promote the value that consumers can bring to maximize mutual benefits.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)227-235
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Nursing
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


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