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Lifelong learning for all? Policies, barriers and practical reality for a socially excluded group

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Abstract:

Lifelong learning is recognized as an important tool to reduce social exclusion, but out of the many investigations into the provision of lifelong learning in Europe none has yet sought to examine the specific situation of mental health care service users. This study examines the provision of lifelong learning for this disadvantaged group; it identifies current policies and explores the access to, and nature of, lifelong learning practices for mental health care service users in eight European countries. Data have been collected through a literature and policy review and through questionnaires completed by mental health practitioners in the eight countries. The study found broad compliance amongst the eight countries with the Lisbon policy goals on lifelong learning, but evidence of specific lifelong learning provision for mental health care service users is patchy and sporadic. The study identified the main benefits of, and the barriers to, the participation in lifelong learning for mental health care service users from the viewpoint of mental health professionals and practitioners. The implications for practice were described, and suggestions for actions were made for improving the lifelong learning provision for the target group.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02601370802408274

Affiliations: 1: Karolinska Institutet, Sweden 2: Middlesex University, UK

Publication date: November 1, 2008

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