Shifting the Paradigm in Community Mental Health: Toward Empowerment and Community
University of Toronto Press
1 Jan 2001
This ground-breaking study examines changes in the values and related practices within community mental health that occurred between 1984 and 1998. During this period, a distinct shift in policy coincided with a new emphasis on mental health reform. Consumer/survivors and other mental health claims-makers played an active role in shaping mental health policy during this time and influenced the trend of consumer/survivor and family participation and empowerment in the policy and planning process. This unique two-and-a-half year study examined one community in depth by looking at the changes that occurred for individuals, organisations, and policy. While the three organizations under study followed their own unique path toward change, the authors contend that there were also common elements in the journey toward the "empowerment community-integration" paradigm. Central to this shift was the emphasis on building an organization based on consensually defined values and a vision for the future. Shifting The Paradigm in Community Mental Health is itself a valuable guide for future research and for the consumers and administrators within the mental health community as well as in other areas of human services. This is an important guide for anyone interested in innovation and social change.