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CSP Principles



The CSP Principles were developed in 1977 by the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) workshop that investigated model programs around the country to identify best practices for fostering recovery among individuals with serious mental illness. There are Eight Principles developed upon which the Mental Health System should be based: These principles are at the core of CSP and guide the planning and evaluation for comprehensive and responsive systems of mental health services.


1. Person Centered/ Person Empowered:

Services are based upon the needs of the individual and incorporate self-help and other approaches that allow peers to retain the greatest possible control over their own lives.

2. Culturally competent:

Services are sensitive and responsive to racial, ethnic, religious and gender differences of peers and their families. 

3. Able to Meet Special Needs: 

Services are designed to meet the needs of persons with behavioral health challenges who are also affected by such factors as age, substance use, physical illness and disability, developmental disability, homelessness or involvement with the criminal justice system. 

4. Community Based with Natural Supports:

Services are provided in the least cohesive manner and in the most natural settings possible. Peers are encouraged to use natural supports in the community and to integrate into the living, working, learning and leisure activities of the community. 

5. Flexible:

Services are designed to allow people to move in and out of the system and within the system as needed. 

6. Coordinated:

Treatment services and supports are coordinated on both the local system level and on an individual person basis in order to reduce fragmentation and to improve efficiency and effectiveness with service delivery. Coordination includes linkages with peers, families, advocates and professionals at every level of systems of care. 

7. Accountable:

Service providers are accountable to the users of services and include people and families in planning, development, implementation, and monitoring and evaluating services. 

8. Strength Based: 

Services built upon the assets and strengths of peers and helping people maintain a sense of identity, self-esteem and dignity. ​

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