Judi Chamberlin, a pioneer for consumer choice, died on Saturday after a long illness in Boston, Mass. As a result of how she was treated for depression in the 1960s, with voluntary and involuntary hospitalizations, she wrote a passionate critique of what she called the "mental health industry." On Our Own: Patient Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System (1978) explains why a client 's voice is essential to creating services.
Many consider Chamberlin the "mother of the movement" giving voice to the patient's perspective and bringing consumers to the table long before they were a respected force in the mental health movement. In 1978, Chamberlin was introduced at a panel of the annual meeting of American Psychiatric Association by an NIMH researcher who said, "We are here to listen to points of view seldom heard at a meeting such as this." Since then, through teaching, organizing, and consulting, Chamberlin helped influence mental health policy to include the concept of recovery in treatment goals.