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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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There is extensive evidence that perspectives on mental health consumer needs vary widely between consumers and other stakeholders-administrators, practitioners, and family members. Traditional methods of determining mental health consumer needs, based on professional input only, have inhibited program development. While progress has been achieved when shared goals have been identified, it has also been inhibited by a lack of known areas of consensus between stakeholder groups. Surveys provide a cost-effective step toward documenting shared views from stakeholders who have the greatest stake in influencing the size and direction of the mental health service system. Identifying shared views is necessary to coordinate stakeholder efforts. The most encouraging result of the surveys is that there are many areas of consensus and thus the potential exists for the stakeholders to coordinate their efforts toward shared goals to better meet important consumer needs by prioritizing services, improving practitioner training, and coordinating advocacy. (Author)