Issue 3: Consumer and Family Involvement in the Treatment Process

Goal: Enhance collaboration between consumers, family members, and professionals in the treatment process and provide needed family supports.


Consumers and families should be an integral part of the treatment team and should be provided with sufficient education in all facets of the illness to allow them to be effective. Research shows that when families are informed and take an active part in treatment decisions, consumer outcomes are better. While families do not cause neuro-biological disorders, their knowledge of and relationship with the consumer is unique and can be a significant help in determining and implementing the best course of treatment. In other types of mental illness, the consumer and professionals will identify those persons appropriate for involvement to advance positive treatment outcomes.

Family support is an integral part of the community support service system. Families provide basic support for many individuals with severe mental illness. Often by default families are the primary care providers and will continue to share in the care of their family member into the indefinite future. Due to misinformation in the past, families were often blamed for the illness. Assistance to families helps them recognize their many important roles. Assistance to families also includes: accurate education about the nature of the illness; counseling on appropriate techniques for dealing with day to day problems and crisis situations; and the opportunity to participate in family support groups and advocacy organizations. When individuals with severe mental illness reside with their families, information on entitlements and opportunities for respite care and other support and training services should be provided.


199. The Department of Health and Social Services will ensure that grantee agencies meet a standard for consumer and family involvement in treatment.

200. Managed care in the public and private sectors will assure consumer and family involvement in treatment.

201. Public mental health services, including managed care, will provide opportunities for family education.

202. The Department of Health and Social Services and mental health stakeholders will develop standards that embody desired consumer outcomes that will become part of the Department of Health and Social Services quality assurance program.
Responsible party (actions 1-4): Department of Health and Social Services

203. The Department of Health and Social Services and Alaska Mental Health Board will develop performance measures for services which focus on consumer outcomes.
Responsible party: Department of Health and Social Services, Alaska Mental Health Board

204. Training will be provided to consumers and families by advocacy groups to enhance their collaboration in the treatment process.
Responsible party: Advocacy groups