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Social Work Case Study

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Examine ways in which Ruth and Megan are socially excluded?

Social exclusion occurs when people are or become separated from the community in which they live, with the result that their opportunity to participate in the political or social life of the community is diminished, and they fail to access the services that are available to them. A report by   the government’s social exclusion unit linked social exclusion to a number of factors, labelling it a “shorthand term for what can happen when people or areas suffer from a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime, bad health and family breakdown” (SEU, 2004).

Social exclusion is experienced by a range of people that come into contact with social services as many individual service users are linked closely to social problems such as poverty, deprivation, abuse, inadequate housing, health care and education (Thompson, 2005).

Ruth and Megan’s circumstances suggest that they are vulnerable to social exclusion. Ruth has a number of mental health problems and research indicates that mental illness can have social consequences and a negative impact in terms of income, employment, social relations and lifestyle (Thompson, 2003). Mental health and social exclusion can affect an individual with a type of vicious circle effect. Psychological factors such as the stress exhibited by Ruth can contribute to poor mental health and then social factors such as poverty, unemployment and poor housing can also contribute towards poor mental health (Thompson, 2003).

The Royal College of Psychiatrists (2004) states that social exclusion is an inevitable part of life for many people with mental health difficulties. People with a mental illness are often marginalised because they have inadequate material resources and because they cannot participate in economically or socially valuable enterprises. Of even greater concern is the fact that they can be excluded from...

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