There is increasing emphasis on enhancing consumer and carer participation in the planning and provision of mental health services. However, health professionals, consumers, and carers have different perceptions about what constitutes optimal care; identifying, negotiating, and meeting their respective needs can be challenging. The aim of the paper is to highlight the challenges of facilitating carer participation in daily practice and emphasise the broader issues that would benefit from more extensive discussion among health professionals. By examining the strategies used to enhance consumer participation, there is the potential to avoid many of the mistakes of the past and create a flexible and responsive framework to increase carer involvement. The authors anticipate that this discussion will resonate with many clinical staff as well as carers themselves. Identifying barriers to carer participation opens the way to promoting collaboration and enhancing care.