Towards a development framework of consumer and carer participation in child and adolescent mental health services




MacDonald, Elspeth
Lee, Erica
Geraghty, Kerry
McCann, Karen
Mohay, Heather
O'Brien, Tom

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Sage Publications Inc


Objective: This paper examines the concept of consumer participation in the context of developmental changes in parent/child relationships and associated differences in the utilization of child and adolescent mental health services. Method: Existing definitions and characteristics of mental health service delivery for children and young people are examined to answer the question, "Who is the consumer in the context of clinical services for young clients and their parents, and does this change with the child or young person's developmental stage?". Results: As children, young people and parents utilize services in this area of mental health, the roles of consumer and carer need redefinition to accommodate both young clients and parents as consumers, and parents also as carers. Conclusion: The proposed framework addresses the changing roles of parents and young clients from infancy to early adulthood to guide consumer and carer participation strategies. If child and adolescent mental health services are to apply a developmental perspective and engage both young clients and parents as 'consumers', they need to address challenges related to the differences in expectations and capacities of young clients and parents, to the complexity associated with dual roles, and to promoting meaningful participation.



Keywords: adolescent; article; caregiver; child; child development; child parent relation; consumer; developmental stage; health care delivery; health care utilization; human; mental health service; Adolescent; Adolescent Health Services; Adult; Attitude to Health; Adolescent; Caregivers; Child; Consumer participation; Mental health services



Australasian Psychiatry


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