This publication details the results of qualitative interviews with 56 different individuals and 25 providers to understand why individuals with serious mental illness disengage from recovery services. The document provides factors for disengagement identified by clients and providers and offers the “Triple A” model of engagement strategies for care providers. The “Triple A” model recommends that clinicians increase and retain client engagement by providing services that are acceptable, accessible, and available.

Services that are acceptable address the emotional needs of the client by acknowledging their strengths and listening to the client without being critical. Accessible services ensure clients can meet with their providers as needed and have the means to do so. Provider services are available if they also address the additional needs of the client. Addressing these needs may mean connecting individuals with support groups, assisting with job training, or providing individual therapy.

Providers report the top three reasons clients disengage with services are lack of reliable transportation, feelings of hopelessness, or that clients fail to recognize their illness and needs. Clients who discontinue services report received care as inconsistent with their needs, the attitude of the clinician, or unwillingness/lack of motivation to participate in treatment.

This resource was first shared in 2013.

(Fact Sheet, PDF, 746 KB)