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Article   |    
Patient as Volunteer: An Assault on Chronicity
Mary Gwynne Schmidt
Psychiatric Services 1979; doi:
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School of Social Work San Diego (Calif.) State University

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

By integrating selected former patients into its regular volunteer program, a South Australian state hospital reduced the hospital stays and the readmissions of a large number of the participants who had previously been seen as failures of the community mental health movement. The author describes the program, its benefits, and some limitations and problems, such as an occasional extra burden on ward personnel. The former patients' new roles as volunteers enabled them to get the support they needed from the hospital but through means more acceptable to them. The program also improved their self-esteem and enabled them to engage in more normalizing social relationships.

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assault ; self esteem
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