How do “mental health professionals” who are also or have been “mental health service users” construct their identities?
Holttum, S., Richards, J. and Springham, N. 2016. How do “mental health professionals” who are also or have been “mental health service users” construct their identities? SAGE Open. 2016, pp. 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015621348
|Authors||Holttum, S., Richards, J. and Springham, N.|
“Mental health professionals” are increasingly speaking out about their own experiences of using mental health services. However, research suggests that they face identity-related dilemmas because social conventions tend to assume two distinct identities: “professionals” as relatively socially powerful and “patients” as comparatively powerless. The aim of this study was, through discourse analysis, to explore how “mental health professionals” with “mental health service user” experience “construct” their identity. Discourse analysis views identity as fluid and continually renegotiated in social contexts. Ten participants were interviewed, and the interviews were transcribed and analyzed. Participants constructed their identity variously, including as separate “professional” and “patient” identities, switching between these in relation to different contexts, suggesting “unintegrated” identities. Participants also demonstrated personally valued “integrated” identities in relation to some professional contexts. Implications for clinical practice and future research are explored. Positive identity discourses that integrate experiences as a service user and a professional included “personhood” and insider “activist,” drawing in turn on discourses of “personal recovery,” “lived experience,” and “use of self.” These integrated identities can potentially be foregrounded to contribute to realizing the social value of service user and other lived experience in mental health workers, and highlighting positive and hopeful perspectives on mental distress.
|Keywords||Mental health; identity; professional; discourse|
|Journal citation||2016, pp. 1-14|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015621348|
|12 Jan 2016|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||14 Jan 2016|
|Accepted||19 Nov 2015|
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