Characteristics and Service Use of Participants in a Large Consumer-Operated Service Agency

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Objective:Administrative data were used to examine the demographic and service-use characteristics of participants in a large consumer-operated agency in New York City (NYC).Method:Demographic characteristics for all consumer-operated agency participants in 2011 (N = 3,296) were compared with data from the 2011 Office of Mental Health Patient Characteristics Survey (N = 87,131).Results:Consumer-operated participants were more likely to be male and diagnosed with a mood disorder, and less likely to be Latino/a than public mental health recipients. “Advocacy” and “Self-Help Services” were used by 80% of service recipients, and lengths-of-stay averaged less than 6 months.Conclusions and Implications for Practice:Self-help services were the most common consumer-operated service used in NYC. Given the demographic differences noted, consumer-operated service providers may need to take additional steps to engage women, Latinos, and persons diagnosed with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders to reach the full range of public mental health consumers.

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