Values and Principles for Consumer Participation

Services of Journey Mental Health Center are based on culturally competent service delivery, community-based treatment, strengths-based skill development, and hope and recovery. Individuals’ and families’ perspectives are key to positive treatment experiences and outcomes. Consumers of service are active partners in treatment, not passive users of it. Because staff/consumer and consumer/agency partnerships are crucial to success for both individuals and the agency as a whole, consumer participation in both clinical and administrative planning and decision-making will not only be sought but will be a requirement.


  • Consumers must have opportunities to play a part in the planning and implementation of mental health and drug/alcohol programs.
  • Recovery is the goal of treatment. Recovery means consumers having satisfying lives functioning at the highest level they can achieve as citizens of the community.
  • Each person must be treated with genuine dignity and respect. “Dignity and respect” includes being consulted and then having one’s response considered seriously.
  • Enhancement of competencies and strengths should be major goals of treatment/service plans.
  • Differences are valued. The differences between providers and consumers of services are matters of perspectives and experiences, not of innate intelligence, abilities, or talents.
  • Each person should have as much control over her/his life as is possible – including control over the type and intensity of service received.


  • Consumer opportunities to learn and grow by taking some reasonable risks, by experimenting, and by trying a variety of paths will be afforded whenever possible.
  • Effective services are based on honest communication. This requires careful listening and careful use of language which opens rather than closes dialogue, and statements which invite joining rather than distance.
  • It is important to be clear about which treatment goals are important to consumers, which are important to clinicians, and to work to develop goals that are truly mutual.
  • Different roles and responsibilities between providers and consumers exist. Such differences need to be acknowledged and used in positive ways.
  • Assessments, plans, and administrative/clinical services flow from personal/cultural frameworks. One important way to assure that services fit with the perspective of the consumer is to include him/her in the design and implementation processes.
  • Fully effective consumer participation includes staff seeking and using input about how programs are run and how policies are decided, not just asking about individual treatment plans. Feedback must actually be used in real and meaningful ways.
  • When people are involved in designing, carrying out, and evaluating their own services, service delivery is easier and outcomes are more successful.
  • All Journey Mental Health Center staff, whether in clinical or administrative areas, are part of the process that can make treatment and services more accessible, respectful and empowering.