What new ethical quandaries are produced through the normalization of mental health service user inclusion as a best practice?
The work collected in this special issue of the Journal of Ethics in Mental Health moves beyond justifying inclusion to trouble the ethics of these practices in and beyond mental health systems. Instead of presenting yet more guidelines, frameworks, and strategies for inclusive service delivery, community consultation, government advisories, and research, it offers critical examination of the ways in which patient engagement, peer workers, “lived experience,” “experts by experience,” and other similar identity driven prototypes are being harnessed. Service user inclusion, as it has been absorbed by mental health structures, has generated not only new institutional policies, texts, practices, and procedures – advisories, working groups, committees, “co-production” discourse – but also new public relations opportunities and new ways to promote the benevolence of these systems. This special issue attempts to interrupt this new business-as-usual of inclusionary practice. It steps back and asks – to what effect?