Strengthening the Voice of Those with Mental Health Issues: A Community Approach to Developing a Mental Health Identification System [2019]

This article describes how an action research approach was used to involve a community of individuals with mental health issues and their support systems in the development and adoption of a mental health identification (ID) card. The intent of the card was to provide individuals with mental health issues a way to communicate and manage the idiosyncratic nature of their behaviors. A credit card–size ID card was developed that has the individual’s picture, address, diagnosis, idiosyncratic behaviors, best approach with the individual when those behaviors are present, medications, allergies, and emergency contact information. Benefits and concerns about the ID system in regard to the cardholder, card recipients, the provision of consent, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliance, and the balancing of reducing and increasing stigmas and stereotypes emerged throughout the process. In the end, the ID card has come to be seen as a social justice mechanism that allows for communication and awareness for those with mental health issues.

Andrew Quinn, Mary Otteson
Social Work, Volume 64, Issue 3, July 2019