Voluntary work as an occupation: promoting social inclusion with mental health service users
(2013) Voluntary work as an occupation: promoting social inclusion with mental health service users, no. 69.
The promotion of social inclusion in mental health has grown in popularity within government policy over the past decade. People with mental health problems find themselves excluded from many aspects of society such as community occupations, employment and support from family and friends. Voluntary work has been considered as a route to social inclusion for people with mental health issues as benefits exist such as increased confidence, increased self-esteem, development of employable and social skills, social interaction and overall improvement of health and wellbeing. Occupational therapists believe that engagement in meaningful occupation can improve mental health recovery and quality of life. It is therefore appropriate for occupational therapists to consider using voluntary work as a therapeutic occupation in practice. This study aims to review the literature which concerns voluntary work, social inclusion and mental health and conduct a research proposal based on the gaps found within the literature. The proposed research will use a phenomenological approach by using semi-structured interviews to explore the experiences of mental health services users' participation in voluntary work and whether this promoted or hindered social inclusion.