Consumers' Suggestions for Improving the Mental Healthcare System: Options, Autonomy, and Respect

Consumers' Suggestions for Improving the Mental Healthcare System: Options, Autonomy, and Respect

By
Morgan Shields, Sara Scully, Heidi Sculman, Christina Borba, Nhi-Ha Trinh, Sara Singer
Community Mental Health Journal. August
2019, Vol. 55, Issue 6, Pages 916-923

While the mental healthcare-consumer voice has gained in legitimacy and perceived value, policy initiatives and system improvements still lack input from consumers. This study explores consumers’ suggestions for improving the mental healthcare system. Participants (N = 46) were conveniently recruited and responded to an online survey asking: “What are your suggestions for improving the mental healthcare system?” Eight themes were identified using iterative, inductive and deductive coding. Themes included treatment options, autonomy and empowerment, respect and relationships, medication management, peer support, insurance and access, funding and government support, and treatment environment. Theoretically, there is interdependence among themes where five of the themes are foundational for the three main themes (i.e. treatment options, autonomy and empowerment, respect and relationships). Findings suggest that consumers see the need for improvement in patient-centered care. While access is the focus of much mental healthcare policy discussions, the ultimate goal should be provisioning person-centered mental healthcare.