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The Concept Of Social Exclusion Social Work Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Social Work
Wordcount: 2399 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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This essay will discuss the origins of social exclusion, explain its meaning and the impact that it can have on groups and individuals in society. It will also describe the significance of social exclusion on people who may experience mental health problems; how government reform has been focusing on raising awareness and also why poverty is very much attached to people who experience social exclusion. It will discuss the greater divide that is being created between the rich and Poor and will also highlight the three discourses and the serious implications and consequences that people who experience these have to live with on a daily basis. It will talk about community care and how the system in which the NHS operates frequently seems to pay little attention to people with disabilities or mental health disorders and how the media should have a large part to play in emphasising the negative attention given to mental health issues.

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(Pearson, 2010) Believed that social exclusion often had different meanings to various people and was a controversial subject which usually provoked extensive debate and widespread discussion. There were two different meanings to social exclusion. The first referred to was when an individual isolated and detached themselves from society, the second, how society treated people differently and made decisions that affected the lives of individuals, creating feelings of, powerlessness, injustice and inequality.

Social Exclusion first originated in France during the 1970s. It arose from groups in society being subjected to rejection or being marginalised and cut off from society. It meant that people, who were disabled, in receipt of benefits or those who may have been asylum seekers, frequently lacked any rights or access to any organisations that could represent or support their needs. The Labour government (December 1997) first introduced the (SETF) The Social Exclusion Task force when they realised that there was a significant need to focus on families which were identified as being either excluded, dysfunctional or both.

According to (Jack, 2000) In 1998 a report led by the social exclusion unit revealed that residents who lived in deprived and run down areas often disliked their estates due to the lack of amenities, crime, vandalism, and the fear of violence and drug dealers. (Sheppard, 2006) stated that People who lived in poverty and hardship were socially excluded which caused concern for social workers. However people who struggled to fit in or suffered dispossession were not the only ones excluded from society as other groups within society were marginalised as well.

During 1999 the Labour government set up the National Service Framework (NSF) for mental health in order to improve services for people who suffered with mental health problems. The Seven standards service policy was implemented to promote wellbeing and to eliminate social exclusion. In addition the service wanted to deliver intervention to reduce hospital admissions whilst also being cost effective.

Mental Health has been viewed poorly in the terms of acknowledgement and given less priority and little recognition in relation to policy makers and the general public because of the lack understanding, ignorance and fear. Mental health was deemed as the “Cinderella” service of The National Health Service. This is why the government made the decision to develop the (NSF) (Wilson, et al., 2008)

(Lanyard, 2005) stated that NHS resources were limited. Service users frequently complained of the lack of services, only 8% had ever seen a Psychiatrist and 3% a Psychologist, which was also combined with a long waiting list. People who were depressed often tended to spend little time with their GP and when they did have the courage to see them were usually only offered anti-depressants as a solution. However in comparison a person with other medical needs such as heart problems or cancer sufferers were automatically referred to a specialist.

According to research, the numbers of people now experiencing mental health disorders had grown dramatically in recent years and included people who came from a range of backgrounds and classes.

Christian’s (Pantazis, et al., 2006) pg. 285/286 believed that Policies from central government had identified issues surrounding mental health and taken into consideration the difficulties and adversity in relation to individuals who experienced mental health issues, and on that basis how mental health could suffer and deteriorate as a result of social exclusion. The government had attempted to eradicate exclusion. There was substantial evidence to believe that social exclusion and poverty were characteristics that contributed to mental health problems and it also became abundantly clear that health and poverty were very much related and were difficult and challenging issues to combat. (Gough, et al., 2006, p. 3) Stated that variations of household income and poor health and education did impact on individuals causing communities to breakdown.

(Kirby, et al., 2000) Stated that one of the criticisms of the welfare state was intuitionalism of people who suffered from mental health issues; therefore a framework of community care was developed resulting in care being provided within the home and community setting or separate institutions. The main problems with community care was that there was often little funding and community support, which subsequently resulted in increased suicide rates and homelessness therefore this raised concerns regarding the overall effectiveness of community care.

(Minister, 2004) stated that Research had shown that discrimination and attitudes towards people who suffered from mental health problems still remained poor and inappropriate. Most employers would not employ someone with a mental health problem. People in the community struggled to access resources and in addition were excluded from the law in relation to jury service. (Thornicroft, 2006) stated that over the last 50 years employment statistics showed that people who suffered from mental health problems had declined within the workforce. Employers tended to discriminate against individuals with long term mental health problems especially people who had Schizophrenia. Therefore finding work could be difficult for people who experienced mental health problems.

(Golightley, 2011) Felt that there was little research in the area of groups of people who had profound needs or disabilities, including the deaf, those with special needs or learning disabilities or even those with mental health issues. Mental health services often adopted the preconception that most people who used the service could hear and were White British. It was fundamentally important for professionals not to pigeonhole people and to understand why there may have been changes in behaviour. It was important to remember that challenging behaviour could be linked to the mental health of the individual and not necessarily be due to the disability that they were suffering from.

Young people who were from asylum seeker families and refugees who had suffered trauma and experienced racism felt socially excluded from society. Experience informed us that stress brought on mental disorders; however there was no existing proof that this was the case. Families and children who experienced emotional abuse may have felt isolated resulting in mental health problems.

(Watkins, 2009) Stated that attempts had been made to try and change people’s perception towards mental illness; unfortunately with little effect. Poor views still remained strong towards mental illness with the opinion that people who were mentally ill behaved irrationally and displayed aggressive behaviour. The media was a very negative force and exacerbated stereotypical views. (Cutcliffe, 2001) Also believed the media increased poor representation of mental illness and portrayed people suffering with mental illness as violent and dangerous, therefore promoting stigma and further ostracism from the public. The tabloids helped develop hysteria and could be a very powerful resource that influenced poor perception of mental illness and ignited outrageous high levels of public ignorance. (Anderson, 2003) Stated that views are similar, in that films have been produced and have often used destructive language. For example “Psycho” and the “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” are both films that have had an impact and lasting effect on individuals and influenced and formed people’s perception of what mental illness was seen to be.

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Loneliness and feelings of despair encompassed the lives of the individuals with mental health disorders, even when there was contact with family or friends, the feelings of isolation could still remain. Deeper depression and low self-esteem tended to increase due to a lack of activity and structure within their lives. In the long term this could result in the individual developing feelings of self-worthlessness and forming a poor view of themselves with a feeling that they were not contributing anything to society. This could eventually result in the individual removing themselves from any form of social contact or interaction. (Granerud & Severinsson, 2006)

(Levitas, 2005) discussed the three discourses in relation to social exclusion. In British Politics the main objective was to reveal the three versions of account to social exclusion. RED the redistributionist discourse is primarily related to poverty and lack of materials and access to resources and inequality. The lack of provisions appeared to be the underlying cause, some people would say that through redistribution of wealth and taxation poverty would be eliminated.

(MUD) The Moral Underclass Discourse applied to attitudes towards moral obligations in relation to neighbourhoods and communities and the belief that people who resided in poor neighbourhoods and who were in receipt of low incomes were more likely to experience criminal behaviours or be unemployed. It was very much aimed at gender such as fathers who failed to pay child support and young males who chose crime as part of life or single unmarried mothers. A society that held these values could often believe this behaviour was acceptable.

(Hills, et al., 2002) Stated that both Upper and lower classes were similar in many ways, and had more in common than it may have been thought. People who experienced deprivation and resided in poor “ghetto” areas were more likely to have had little police protection. However, in contrast the wealthy of gated communities would usually have their own security. In addition the poor tended not to vote, whereas the wealthy did not need to as they usually had connections to political parties by funding organisations.

(SID) Social Integration Discourse was emphasised on the labour market and influenced by the Labour Government, it featured some of the RED but felt exclusion came from the labour market.

(Berns, 2007) stated that People who suffered mental disorders experienced poverty and economic pressure which impacted on their self-esteem. Consequently they could struggle to either sustain jobs, or take up training and education because of feelings of hopelessness, therefore making it impossible to alleviate poverty and improve life chances.

Through evidence and research my conclusion is that there is much more to be done for people who experience mental health problems. I have discovered that people’s attitudes, ignorance and biased views towards mental health are formed by opinion rather than understanding. Throughout this essay I have confirmed that social exclusion exists within services and society. The NHS budget on mental health is limited and substantially small in comparison to other medical conditions and as a consequence many medical staff and professionals still carry the preconception that medication is the only answer to the problem. There is little intervention in relation to therapy, counselling or alternative approaches which in turn could be more productive and rewarding. With small amounts of money spent on resources and little effort being put into care and rehabilitation, there is less chance to enhance the lives of the most socially excluded. Equally people with mental health often suffer within the workplace and can experience further prejudice and discrimination, coupled with feelings of guilt and hopelessness for not fully participating in the work force. Sufferers of mental health can also often feel rejected by society and feel ostracised for having what they feel is a mind that is broken. However in comparison to this, physical conditions are frequently met with sympathy, warmth and understanding. The media can be responsible for reinforcing negative public views and in promoting stigma and fear towards mental illness. Leitvats discussed the three discourses and looked at the holistic features that impacted on the socially excluded. I feel all three categories relate to people who are suffering with mental health problems. The government needs to do more to eradicate discrimination and aim to highlight positive attention and awareness to change people’s perception. (Commission, 2012) Stated that to encourage a quality of life and wellbeing and opportunities for people with mental disorders there needs to be radical changes in order to prosper and gain employment and to feel part of the community. To feel included would be the ultimate freedom but what a massive task it will be in order for this to be fulfilled. There is hope however, with new and innovative campaigns being introduced such as “The Time to Change” campaign, which is funded by the (DOH) and which is being supported by many celebrities, such as Gary Lineker and Stephen Fry. This is a positive step forward as many celebrities are now opening up and being prepared to speak out about their own experiences with mental health problems. In the long term this can only benefit society in raising awareness and changing attitudes towards the stigma that mental health carries.

Word Count ,2193.


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