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“If You Can’t Follow, You’re Out.” The Perspectives of People with Mental Health Problems on Citizenship

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Abstract

The new paradigm of ‘community care’ promotes the integration of people with mental health problems in society. This reconversion in social care risks to remain limited to a ‘physical’ level of integration. As the voices of people in vulnerable situations are largely absent in today’s debates about citizenship, the present study used photovoice to investigate how people with mental health problems (n = 16) and co-occuring drug dependence (n = 14/16) perceive ‘being a citizen’ in everyday life. A thematic analysis of the verbal data and the selected pictures led to seven themes. These themes illustrate the complex, dual reality of living with mental health problems; the strengths, capacities and hope of people, but also the various obstacles they are confronted with in relation to the broader society. These findings imply an urgent need for an alternative, inclusive view on citizenship and according policy actions.

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Acknowledgements

This study was financed by the Fund for Applied Research of the University College Ghent.

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Correspondence to Jessica De Maeyer.

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Vervliet, M., Reynaert, D., Verelst, A. et al. “If You Can’t Follow, You’re Out.” The Perspectives of People with Mental Health Problems on Citizenship. Applied Research Quality Life 14, 891–908 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-017-9537-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-017-9537-4

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