The reported responsibilities of mental health workers and clients


  • Kirsi Günther University of Turku
  • Jenni-Mari Räsänen Tampere University



mental health, shift report, categorisation, reported speech, responsibility


This paper explores how mental health workers construct and categorise the responsibilities allocated to themselves and to their clients, based on how these responsibilities are recorded and located in the handwritten shift reports created during an intensive outpatient rehabilitation course in Finland. The data consist of 27 shift reports, which are first sorted using data-driven inductive analysis that then provides the frame for a more detailed analysis. It is found that the workers see their responsibilities as being to make assessments, and to guide and support their clients to increase their ability to function independently and take responsibility for their everyday lives. Reciprocally, the clients’ responsibilities are seen as being to accept the workers’ advice and support and to attend to their own everyday tasks. The clients are also regarded as responsible for their own rehabilitation. There are also shared responsibilities, including promoting client recovery together. The aim of all these reported responsibilities is to improve clients’ wellbeing and independence.

Author Biographies

Kirsi Günther, University of Turku

Kirsi Günther received her PhD in social work from Tampere University, and she is currently a lecturer at the University of Turku. Her research interests include social work and mental health practices in welfare institutions as well as in text studies and clienthood.

Jenni-Mari Räsänen, Tampere University

Jenni-Mari Räsänen received her PhD in social work from Tampere University, where she is currently working as a lecturer. Her main research interests are concerned with recording and transferring information and with professional responsibilities and boundaries in different mental health and social work practices.


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How to Cite

Günther, K., & Räsänen, J.-M. (2022). The reported responsibilities of mental health workers and clients. Communication and Medicine, 17(3), 230–242.