Peter Bates Back in early March, the Labour Minister for the only available tenancies are in the roughest Social Exclusion and Equality, Barbara Roche, part of town and mental health centres are two announced a new project to address social bus rides away. A fourth person wants to do a exclusion among adults with mental health college course that starts at 9am, but bus passes problems. The Social Exclusion Unit is looking are only valid after 9.30. at ‘how to help the many people with mental Many of us have spent years trying to find health problems who want to work to enter and practical ways around this bewildering maze of retain employment and examining the broader false trails and dead ends. The Social Exclusion issues of social participation and access to Unit invites us to think differently. If we could services’. After a year of research, it will publish change policy, what would we want? I have been a report in spring 2004 containing opening conversations with people by offering recommendations for action across a whole them three wishes to change policy or practices. range of Government departments. Most people I have spoken to found it hard to think of practical, workable recommendations for the future. Of course, it is easy to think of “ Everyone in mental health services seems to changes that would cost hundreds of millions of have a story about the way in which things just pounds or require key individuals to undergo a fail to make sense at present. ” personality transplant. The trick is to think of straightforward things that appear reasonable and This project includes a major public would actually make things better. consultation, and the unit is eager to hear what For years, mental health services have been a can be done to tackle exclusion, whether from hotbed of innovation. Pioneers have found out employment opportunities or any aspect of social how to make the most of current arrangements and community participation. This ranges from and create exciting projects and opportunities for access to decent housing and primary health care themselves and others. But the world is changing through to legal rights, education or informal and we need some new activists – those who can community activities. see how to transform current arrangements. This adds up to the biggest opportunity in Please let the Social Exclusion Unit know years. Everyone in mental health services seems what should be done. Contact it at: Social to have a story about the way in which things Exclusion Unit, Office of the Deputy Prime just fail to make sense at present. One person Minister, 7th Floor, Eland House, Bressenden wants to move into employment, but the welfare Place, London, SW1E 5DU. benefit system blocks progress at every turn. Tel: 020 7944 5550 fax: 020 7944 2607. Email: Another person is willing to serve as a school firstname.lastname@example.org governor, but guidance notes exclude anyone website: www.socialexclusionunit.gov.uk/ ‘liable to be detained under the Mental Health mental_health/mental_health.htm Act’ (that’s all of us, isn’t it?). A third finds that A life in the day Volume 7 Issue 3 August 2003 © Pavilion
A Life in the Day – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 1, 2003
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