Community inclusion is a central feature of wellbeing for all people. It’s where we find our place in the world and experience the joy of belonging. For people with mental illnesses, being included in family and community life can be a struggle. Indeed, exclusion is one of the most devastating effects of the illness. For people living in marginalised communities, the injustice of exclusion is particularly damaging.
That’s why Tearfund has invested in research to find out exactly what the barriers to inclusion really are. And what better way to find out than to ask people with lived experience of mental illness?
We did this through PhotoVoice, a method whereby participants use cameras to document their experience. Now that the results are in, we’re excited to share some of the research findings.
“The results are really encouraging”, says lead researcher and Tearfund staff member Helen Fernandes. “We found that the wellbeing of people with mental illness can be significantly improved with greater family and community inclusion. And now we know what the actual barriers are, communities can work to support people better.”
This research is already informing the work of our implementing partners, the Emmanuel Hospital Association (India) and the Centre for Mental Health and Counselling (Nepal) as they respond to people with love and compassion, restoring them into community and relationship, as an active recognition that all people have inherent value in God’s sight.
This research has been conducted in partnership with the University of Melbourne (Nossal Institute for Global Health) and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. With thanks to Stephanie Cantrill and Tearfund’s partner implementing agencies EHA (India) and CMC (Nepal).