Citizenship, mental health, and positive psychology

Authored by: Jean-François Pelletier , Chyrell Bellamy , Maria O’Connell , Michaella Baker , Michael Rowe

The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Positive Psychology

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138961432
eBook ISBN: 9781315659794
Adobe ISBN:


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In this chapter, we propose a framework of citizenship for people with mental illnesses to achieve community inclusion and full participation in society. As with positive psychology, citizenship-oriented mental health care represents a paradigmatic shift away from a pathology-focused approach that may contribute to people’s isolation from their communities. We consider people’s exercise of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in the context of adequate resources, in possession of valued social roles, and with positive relationships and social networks as a pre-condition for recovery, rather than an eventual reward contingent on overcoming one’s disability. We argue that people’s lived experience of regaining a sense of citizenship and of belonging to their local neighborhoods, communities, and society as a whole can help foster an evolution from disease management to health promotion and community inclusion.

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