Voting as a means of social inclusion for people with a mental illness

J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2002 Dec;9(6):697-703. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2850.2002.00539.x.


People suffering from mental illness are often disenfranchized from many functions of society. Voting is one such area where disenfranchizement and exclusion are unnecessarily experienced. The emphasis on service provision as a means of achieving social inclusion for those with mental illness may relegate it to a principle of treatment compliance. Should measures of social function remain the main indicators of successful community care or should measures of social integration be identified, assessed and maintained? Mental health professionals should actively pursue users' voting rights in light of the changing legal climate and the introduction of human rights legislation into United Kingdom law. With the potentially huge political capital in this area the author believes that the current debate regarding social inclusion cannot be adequately addressed unless this fundamental and democratic principle is included more extensively.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Civil Rights / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Community Mental Health Services / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / nursing
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Mentally Ill Persons / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Patient Rights
  • Social Alienation / psychology*
  • State Medicine / standards
  • United Kingdom