Authors: Peter Huxley, Swansea, UK
Event: 2007 TheMHS Conference
Subject: RECOMMENDED READING, KEYNOTE SPEAKER, Social inclusion and community,EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE, AND OUTCOME RESEARCH, RESEARCH, EVALUATION, QUALITY IMPROVEMENT.MENTAL HEALTH, SOCIAL INCLUSION, CONCEPT MAPPING
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: There is an increasing emphasis in mental health services policy and practice to purchase, deliver and evaluate services in terms of person centred outcomes. Policy in the UK and in Australia has been oriented in this direction for several years. This presentation recognises the importance of person centred outcomes and argues for the need, in the future, to examine social inclusion as a central outcome indictor, because of its resonance with service users’ personal goals. While the concept of social exclusion is well-known in both Europe and Australia, there has been less work undertaken on social inclusion, and there have been very few attempts to measure it.
Using work from the UK, a number of uses of social inclusion measurement will be examined; all of them are under development, and it is important to note that all are work in progress and none are the finished article. In the first instance the work of the National Institute for Mental Health (England) Research and Evidence Coalition will be considered, in particular Peter Bates’s use of a social inclusion web in clinical practice and his use of a measure to assess the degree to which services are behaving inclusively in practice. Next the Social Inclusion project, funded by the National Centre for Research Methodology, will be described. This project is to produce a social inclusion measure that can be used both in mental health services and more widely in general population studies. In Phase 1 a literature and web-based review was conducted and nine focus groups were held, representing mental health service users, professionals, managers, academics and the general population.
The results of these investigations will be reported. In summary, it is clear that social inclusion is a multi-dimensional concept, that is more than just the obverse of social exclusion. There are two general ways in which the topic has been approached; one is in relation to the personal meaning of inclusion to individual and the other might be termed the social indicator approach; the former is broadly subjective and the latter broadly objective. There is however, a measure of similarity in the components of each approach. It is also clear that different groups in society have slightly different perspectives, and the general population in particular seem to differ from other groups in the way that they interpret inclusion. Nevertheless, there is a broad measure of agreement about the most important aspects of inclusion, and that it needs to be measured in ways that capture both the objective realities of people’s lives but also the personal meanings that inclusion and exclusion have for them. Looking to the future, we anticipate joint work between the University of Adelaide, the Baptist University of Hong Kong, Melbourne, Swansea, the National University of Taiwan and the University of Tasmania in the development of measures of social inclusion that can be used in cross-cultural comparisons.
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