Voluntary work for adults with mental health problems: an exploration of the perspectives of recruiters

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Volunteering is often considered with people with mental health problems as a route to social inclusion and paid employment. In order to gain access to volunteering opportunities, liaison is required with voluntary organisations and their representatives, who are known as recruiters.

This qualitative study explored the views of nine recruiters of volunteers, focusing on their perspectives on mental health problems and drawing on their experiences of recruiting people with mental health problems. The aim was to inform recommendations for strategies that might improve future placements. A purposive sample of nine recruiters from a London borough participated in semi-structured interviews. The data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

The findings suggest that volunteer organisations reflect wider experiences of stigma and social exclusion within society. Although some recruiters attempted to be accommodating, significant barriers existed and led to a system of occupational apartheid. Overcoming this situation requires partnerships between occupational therapists, service users and voluntary organisations, working closely to secure a more inclusive place in society for people with mental health problems.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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