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Friday 21st October 2016

Tackling social exclusion

5th September 2008

Angela Greatley, chief executive of the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, highlights the need to tackle social exclusion effectively.


Recent work by the Sainsbury Centre has found that many people facing social exclusion have a whole set of needs, yet each is often not regarded as serious enough in its own right to qualify for help. They fall below every agency’s "threshold" for a service.

This group is "chronically excluded" from housing, work, relationships and the kinds of activity most people aspire to. Their problems are complex but they are excluded from the help they need.

We see women with depression or anxiety and drug or drink problems, who commit minor offences and often are homeless. They find themselves in court or facing short prison sentences.

They often need healthcare but there is confusion as to what is being done by whom.

Last year, the crime reduction charity NACRO found that some of its clients with severe mental health problems had seen as many as 23 professionals from seven different agencies.

These people have chaotic lifestyles and a range of mental health or development disorders but are batted between an array of different agencies.

The social exclusion task force has acted to set public service agreements and the Darzi review recognises the role of the NHS in partnerships for well-being and prevention.

But those experiencing chronic exclusion will only be at the centre of this agenda if local partners share knowledge, focus on innovative solutions and local agencies commission for those who live chaotic lifestyles.


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