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Mental health activists and advocates have played an important role in the history of psychiatric care but few, if any, studies have sought to understand their views. In popular perceptions, activists are often divided into either pro-psychiatry or anti-psychiatry groups. Our present study analyzed data from a national survey of mental health activists and advocates with lived experience, and identified 6 sub-groups with similar patterns of beliefs about mental health treatment, medications and diagnosis. We also found differences between the groups with regards to their psychiatric treatment histories, and motivations to engage in activism and advocacy. Our findings complicate the binary perceptions people often have about the mental health advocacy community, and emphasize a diversity of views existing on a spectrum. We also found interesting points of commonalities despite other differences, such as widespread support for access to alternatives to traditional mental health services, provision of accommodations, and leadership by individuals with lived experience.

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This page is a summary of: Beyond Binary Narratives of Mental Health Advocacy: Latent Profiles of Mental Health Activists and Advocates With Lived Experience, Psychiatric Services, July 2022, American Psychiatric Association,
DOI: 10.1176/appi.ps.20220078.
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