What Adds Value to Mental Health Care? Looking for Your input

I need your help. This year at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting in Toronto, I will be talking on what adds ‘value’ to mental health care from the patient perspective. It’s a symposium, and the other speakers will be approaching the issue from the perspective of the insurance company, the hospital, employers, and looking at things like quantifiable measurements of success measured with standardized tools and how to recognize waste in the systems. I won’t be talking about standardized tools.

So I need input. If you’re a health professional and you’ve never seen a psychiatrist as a patient, please don’t answer. I want to hear what people see as ‘value in mental health care’ straight from a patient’s perspective.

 I'd like to hear what experiences and outcomes make you feel like you've gotten your money's worth?    
Why do you go to treatment?
What are you looking to get from it?
Do you have specific goals that you'd like to see measured by objective criteria?
Have you ever seen a psychiatrist for treatment, gotten better from your disorder, and yet not valued the care? Why?
Do you like that insurers and providers are looking at what makes for good value, meaning the best outcomes for the lowest cost?
In short: what makes for a good experience with a psychiatrist?  You can also tell me what makes for a bad experience.
While I've got you here, do you value having your psychiatric chart in an electronic medical record?

If you don’t want to comment here, please feel free to email me at shrinkrapblog at gmail dot com.


1.I can function reasonably well by myself on antipsychotic medication. I take care of both my mental and my physical health.
2.I go to treatment because it is a requirement of the society we live in. I’m in the US. Also, it is the only way I can get prescriptions for the drugs I think I need. I’ve been going to treatment habitually for many years.
3.Realistically, prescriptions for the drugs I think I need. Some understanding from the doctor which I can’t get from other people.
4.I have no specific goals that I’d like to see measured by objective criteria.
5.This has been the case for years. My thinking about the value of psychiatric care is nihilistic. Also, I have been in treatment for 52 years and have become blase.
6.My doctor doesn’t accept Medicare, if that is relevant. He gives me samples of my medication, which in reality would be prohibitively expensive if I had to buy them in a pharmacy. The outcome is not improvement but maintenance.
7.He should have an in-depth knowledge of the disease and of psychopharmacology. He should be friendly to me as his patient.
8.I don’t mind having my chart in an electronic medical record. It might even be a good thing.

I say forget the psychiatrist and the chart - goals, measuring.

I found the most value in a day program where we did things the rest of the world did - volley ball, football, art,making a quilt, going out to the malls…card games, puzzles you could stop by where someone else was working + add a few pieces.

These things helped me to fit into the rest of the world better than before. That was 30 years ago, but I still have some of the ease I gained back then.