Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Benefits and Importance of Empowerment

"The focus on empowerment of people with severe mental illness is important and warranted for both practical and philosophical reasons.

From a practical perspective, the empowerment of people with mental illness through meaningful participation in decision making benefits both them and the organizations that provide services to them.
  • People with mental illness who meaningfully participate in treatment planning, for instance, are more likely to meet their treatment goals and be satisfied with their services.
  • Similarly, people with mental illness who select their residences and have control over major residential decisions are more satisfied with their housing and function more independently within it. 
  • Likewise, mental health agencies that promote client participation in organizational decision making are more likely to develop service programs that are responsive to clients' needs.  
  • A focus on empowerment also is important because participation can be viewed as a right.  Simply put, people should have a right to participate in decisions and activities that will affect their lives."  
 From Empowering People with Severe Mental Illness by D. Linhorst, Oxford University Press (2006)

This passage refers to empowering people with severe mental illness and yet the values espoused may pertain to any previously or currently oppressed group - including mental health professionals who are women and/or persons of color.

To what extent do you participate in the decisions and activities that will affect your life?

This is the political process.  This is what is meant by, the personal is political.

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