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Title: The citizenship status of people who use mental health services
Author: Goia, Maya
ISNI:       0000 0001 3501 6879
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2005
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The aim of the study was to examine whether people who use mental health services occupy the status of citizens in contemporary English society or whether they occupy the status of a socially excluded group. A discussion group with three mental health service users was followed by a series of in-depth interviews conducted with 15 individuals who had used mental health services. Participants were asked to define citizenship and were asked to discuss their experiences in response to the question of whether people who use mental health services enjoy the same opportunities to participate in society as other citizens. The findings were analysed in accordance with the three areas of citizenship conceptualised by Marshall in 1950, namely civil, political and social citizenship. Participants defined citizenship in terms of the opportunities that are available to other citizens but exclusion of mental health service users from such opportunities. Participants described exclusion from citizenship through broad denial of valued social roles (e.g. employee, property owner, consumer, friend, partner, parent) and refuted Marshall's (1981) claim that state welfare enables mitigation of social inequality caused by a capitalist economic system in their descriptions of mental health services as undermining their status as citizens. In conclusion, participants related instances of blatant discrimination and described a disadvantaged position in society. However, participants were not passive victims of discrimination but formulated their own forms of inclusion in meaningful activity as an alternative to the patienthood role. The study provides comprehensive confirmation of previous research which suggests the marginalised status of mental health service users in English society but also reveals a complexity of experience that perhaps has not been explored in previous research.
Supervisor: Keating, Frank Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: H Social Sciences