Social support is the everyday assistance offered by family, friends, neighbours and colleagues, as well as the foundations of support in a range of n-clinical settings, and plays a vital role in a person's mental health and wellbeing. This book examines the nature of social support and offers a practical approach to how it can be enhanced. Focusing on the relationships between service users and supporters , it examines service users' experiences of issues of identity, stigma, social exclusion and social networks. Individual chapters look in depth at how social support is enacted in close relationships, educational institutions and in the world of employment. The nature of 'community' is explored with particular reference to how service users can be supported into greater engagement with social networks. Demonstrating the importance of social perspectives on mental health, this book is essential reading for practitioners, students and educators in mental health, social and community work, community mental health nursing and occupational therapy.
Jonathan Leach is a lecturer in mental health at The Open University, UK, and chair of Tandem, a mental health befriending organisation in Oxford, UK, where he lives. He is past Chair of the UK's National Vocational Rehabilitation Association and formerly lectured on a post-graduate disability and employment course at City University in London. Having previously spent ten years working in a mental health and employment voluntary sector organisation and another three years researching the support needs of students with mental health problems, Jonathan has had a long and practical interest in social aspects of mental health.