Understanding the Role of Allies in Systemic Consumer Empowerment: A Literature Review

Brett Scholz, Cath Roper, Piyada Juntanamalaga, Brenda Happell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Contemporary mental health policies call for the inclusion of consumers in the development, implementation and evaluation of mental health services. Barriers to systemic consumer engagement have been related to unequal distributions of power. One of the goals of the consumer movement is to address imbalances of power, resources and knowledge. Empowerment through consumer leadership in the mental health sector has been identified as a fundamental goal of the consumer movement and has been considered the philosophical basis for alternative models of mental health care. However, currently such systemic empowerment is poorly understood, assuming diverse and at times contradictory definitions within mental health literature. The role of allies as facilitators of systemic empowerment opportunities has been recognised and valued within numerous social movements. Currently, there is a lack of research in regards to the potential role of allies in the consumer movement and more specifically in systemic consumer empowerment. Future research should seek to more clearly define systemic consumer empowerment. Additionally, future research collaborations between consumer and ally perspectives should specifically investigate the role of allies in systemic consumer empowerment, to highlight potential opportunities and limitations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-361
Number of pages8
JournalIssues in Mental Health Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019


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