Client Driven Mental Health Services

What are Client Driven Mental Health Services?

When mental health clients have the primary role in identifying their own needs, preferences and goals, then the services they receive are “client driven.”  This means that you determine what kind of assistance you need rather than having mental health professionals decide what’s “best” for you.  In this way, you “take charge” of your own life by making important decisions that will directly affect you.

What is the difference between “expressed interest” and “best interest”?

Client driven services respect your “expressed” interests rather than your “best” interests as determined by a mental health professional.   This approach affirms your right to make your own health care decisions and to live your life in ways that you choose.  It is based on the philosophy, principles and practices of “recovery,” which recognizes that individuals can and do recover from serious mental health disabilities. 

 What is the recovery approach?

With the recovery approach, professionals listen to your expressed needs and preferences, understanding that people have different personal goals and strengths.  Based on your individual needs and interests, professionals will help to identify and recommend services they believe will be helpful.  In this way, the professional is a “consultant” who provides guidance and assistance to help you reach your own goals.  With this information, you can make your own decisions about what action to take and what you want to do in your life.  With an ideal recovery team, the client presents his or her goals and discusses how team members can help achieve them.

Do client driven mental health services include peer support?

Yes.  Often, client driven services include peer support as a central focus of recovery.  By getting support from peers who share similar experiences as mental health clients, you may learn new information, strategies and skills that mental health professionals may not be able to provide.  In other words, peers may have some “insider” information about how to get help, because they have “been there” before and have experience getting services from the mental health system.

Can family and friends support the client driven recovery process?

Yes.  Recovery offers a better future.  It is based on the fact that people can and do overcome the barriers and obstacles that confront them. This hope can be fostered by peers, families, friends, providers, and others.  Clients can invite family and friends to participate in the recovery process.

Why are client driven services important?

Client driven services are important as a means for you to take control of your life.  Ultimately, you are in the “driver’s seat,” and make the decisions about what directions to take in your own recovery.

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The Stigma, Discrimination, Reduction and Advancing Policy to Eliminate Discrimination Program (APEDP), is funded by the voter approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63) and administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA). County MHSA funds support CalMHSA, which is an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. CalMHSA operates services and education programs on a statewide, regional and local basis. For more information, visit http://www.calmhsa.org.