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Do clinicians and clinical researchers do enough to foster social inclusion?

Sue Holttum (Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University, Southborough, UK)

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

ISSN: 2042-8308

Article publication date: 9 March 2015



The purpose of this paper is to raise questions about the social issues involved in mental and physical health. It highlights how, even where social issues are evident, clinicians and clinical researchers often focus mainly on individual people and what has gone wrong with them. This has the effect of making it less likely that social exclusion and adversity will be taken into account or that clinicians will help to change these.


Three journal papers are summarised. The first one reports an attempt to test whether depression is a result of people feeling defeated and trapped. The second paper reports the results of analysing medical writing about domestic abuse. The third paper discusses the need for trainee clinicians to be made more aware of social conditions that affect people's lives.


It does appear that people who feel defeated and trapped are more likely to become depressed. However, the life circumstances that lead to feeling trapped need more attention. Medical writing about domestic abuse may need to incorporate the broader context so that it is not just seen as a “women's problem”. It may be worth training clinicians about social conditions and how they might help to change them.


These papers highlight important links between social exclusion and mental and physical health. There is a key role for clinicians and clinical researchers to be more part of the solution where they sometimes unwittingly help maintain the problems.



Holttum, S. (2015), "Do clinicians and clinical researchers do enough to foster social inclusion?", Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 5-11.



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