Participation for individuals with a severe mental illness: Can support therein be actually suportive?
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The aim of this research is to determine the supportiveness of socially innovative and traditional approaches focused on (the progression towards) participation of individuals with a severe mental illness (SMI) in Amsterdam. A cross-sectional research design has been employed, as part of which interviews were conducted with both counselors and clients of these initiatives. It can be concluded that the supportiveness of the initiatives does not differ between traditional and socially innovative approaches as initiatives of both approaches are considered supportive by counselors and clients, with the most important determinant of this supportiveness being the degree of person-centeredness maintained within the initiatives. There are however considerable barriers to achieving the participation of individuals with a SMI, the most prominent being the SMI and the consequent issues arising from it. Relief from these barriers can however be found in the possibilities which participation provides, as coping is widely present among individuals with a SMI and once clients are participating they come to see the value of it. Limitations of the research are insufficient interviews with clients from a day center and the incomplete standardization of the interviews. It is recommended that further research be conducted into processes occurring before individuals with an SMI receive support for their participation. An additional practical recommendation is that person-centeredness should permeate into all facets of society.