Social Exclusion and Intolerance towards Persons with Mental Illness: Challenge to Mental Health Care and Social Integration
Background: Social exclusion and intolerance towards people with mental health problems have been seen across the globe and India is not an exception. Their experiences of social exclusion and intolerance include lack of participation in social activities and being affected in multiple ways, such as having a low income, poor housing and being socially isolated. Sometimes it also includes sever humiliation and abuse. Ignorance, prejudice and negative public attitudes towards people with mental illness lead to a cycle of distancing and disadvantage which is the biggest challenge to mental health care and social integration of people with mental health problems.
Aim: To illustrate social exclusion and intolerance towards people with mental health problems which got comparatively little attention in empirical research particularly in the eastern region of the country. The study also demonstrates the feasibility of social casework intervention in such cases.
Design & Methodology: The study is based on single subject research design. The case presented here of a middle-aged woman who was very much endearing helpful to everyone around her in the rural community later got a mental illness. Through an in-depth case study using face to interview with her and her family members, a psychosocial formulation was made and a social casework intervention was accomplished.
Findings: Findings of the study illustrate the nature and extent of social exclusion and intolerance of the society towards a person with mental illness which includes sever humiliation and abuse. The role of the family was initially indifferent which was realigned and utilized in intervention which reflected as significant improvement in understanding and awareness about the illness and problem related to that in the family, which ultimately prevented the social execution and enhanced quality of life of the person affected. Associated issues were discussed.
Implications: The study might enhance the understanding on the issue and demonstrated social casework intervention might be a good choice for intervening social exclusion. This has an important implication on, the lack of awareness about psychosocial intervention and its possible benefit among all the stakeholders of mental health care? This is the biggest challenge to mental health care and social integration of people with mental health problems.
Limitations: Single case has its own limitations.
Keywords: social exclusion, intolerance, mental illness, stigma, discrimination, psychosocial intervention
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