Who Uses Consumer–Run Self–Help Organizations?


Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Health Systems Research and Consulting Unit, 33 Russell St., 3rd Floor Tower, Toronto, ON M5S 2S1 Canada. E-mail: Paula_Goering@camh.net


A multisite evaluation of community mental health services is used to answer two questions: (a) How do diagnosis, functioning, and self–assessments of consumer/survivor initiative (CSI) and assertive community treatment (ACT) participants compare?, and (b) What other supports/services are CSI and ACT participants using? The sample is from an Ontario evaluation of consumer/survivor peer initiatives in four communities (n = 73). The reference group is new (n = 48) and ongoing (n = 134) clients of four ACT teams. Self–help organizations are serving a broader population of individuals who include a significant subgroup of persons with severe mental illness along with others with a mixed picture of higher functioning and greater instability. There is little overlap in the use of these modes of service delivery, which suggests that maintaining options within systems of care is critical to ensuring coverage and access for the broader population.