Continuing challenges for the mental health consumer workforce: A role for mental health nurses?
Cleary, M and Horsfall, J and Hunt, GE and Escott, P and Happell, B, Continuing challenges for the mental health consumer workforce: A role for mental health nurses?, International journal of mental health nursing, 20, (6) pp. 438-44. ISSN 1445-8330 (2011) [Refereed Article]
The aim of this paper is to discuss issues impacting on consumer workforce participation and challenges that continue to arise for these workers, other service providers, and the mental health system. The literature identifies the following issues as problematic: role confusion and role strain; lack of support, training, and supervision structures; job titles that do not reflect actual work; poor and inconsistent pay; overwork; limited professional development; insufficient organizational adaptation to expedite consumer participation; staff discrimination and stigma; dual relationships; and the need to further evaluate consumer workforce contributions. These factors adversely impact on the emotional well-being of the consumer workforce and might deprive them of the support required for the consumer participation roles to impact on service delivery. The attitudes of mental health professionals have been identified as a significant obstacle to the enhancement of consumer participation and consumer workforce roles, particularly in public mental health services. A more comprehensive understanding of consumer workforce roles, their benefits, and the obstacles to their success should become integral to the education and training provided to the mental health nursing workforce of the future to contribute to the development of a more supportive working environment to facilitate the development of effective consumer roles.