Recent research on approaches to improving social inclusion for people with mental disabilities is reviewed.
We describe four approaches (or tools) that can be used to improve social inclusion for people with mental disabilities: legislation, community-based supports and services, antistigma/antidiscrimination initiatives, and system monitoring and evaluation. While legislative solutions are the most prevalent, and provide an important framework to support social inclusion, research shows that their full implementation remains problematic. Community-based supports and services that are person-centered and recovery-oriented hold considerable promise, but they are not widely available nor have they been widely evaluated. Antistigma and antidiscrimination strategies are gaining in popularity and offer important avenues for eliminating social barriers and promoting adequate and equitable access to care. Finally, in the context of the current human rights and evidence-based health paradigms, systematic evidence will be needed to support efforts to promote social inclusion for people with mental disabilities, highlight social inequities, and develop best practice approaches.
Tools that promote social inclusion of persons with mental disabilities are available, though not yet implemented in a way to fully realize the goals of current disability discourse.
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Correspondence to Professor Heather Stuart, PhD, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, K7L 3N6 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org