Learning from consumers: An eDelphi study of Australian mental health consumers’ priorities for recovery‐oriented curricula Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND/AIM:Mental health reform in Australia emphasises recovery, partnership working and prioritises consumers' needs over professionals'. Occupational therapy students must develop capabilities for working in this way. Learning from consumers' lived experience of mental illness and recovery is considered critical to developing such capabilities and aligns with occupational therapy programme accreditation for consumer involvement in designing, delivering and evaluating curricula. No definitive capability standards exist to inform curricula and little is known about Australian mental health consumers' preferred modes of involvement in health professional education. This study sought to identify consumers' priorities for curricula, and ways in which they would like to participate in entry-level student education. METHODS:An eDelphi study utilising the Policy Delphi approach was employed. Consensus by 70% of participants was set as the standard for item inclusion. The first round asked open questions about participants' priorities for recovery-oriented curricula, their experiences with mental health workers and asked participants to identify their preferred methods of participating in education. Items generated were rated in subsequent rounds until consensus was reached in round three. RESULTS:Twenty-eight participants completed round one, 18 completed round two and 14 completed round three. Five core values and 171 curriculum priorities, forming 12 capability domains, reached consensus. Each capability domain comprised knowledge and understanding; skills and abilities; and behaviours and actions. Ten ways of participating in mental health curricula in entry-level occupational therapy programmes were identified, with an emphasis on active participation in design, delivery and review of curricula. CONCLUSION:These findings highlight important capabilities from consumers' perspectives, suggesting key content for curricula. Active roles in designing, delivering and evaluating curricula were preferred, providing some guidance for educators seeking to involve consumers. Further research is required to refine these priorities, and to evaluate acceptability, feasibility and efficacy of varying modes of consumer involvement.


  • Arblaster, K
  • Mackenzie, L
  • Matthews, L
  • Willis, Karen
  • Gill, K
  • Hanlon, P
  • Laidler, R

publication date

  • 2018