Social inclusion of people experiencing homelessness through peer support and consumer involvement or social connections is a key component of recovery.
People experiencing homelessness have lost the protection of a home and their community. They are often marginalized and isolated within the larger society. Also, people with mental and/or substance use disorders frequently face challenges in building and maintaining social connections. They may fail to seek out treatment for fear of discrimination or feel unworthy of help. Helping people experiencing homelessness overcome these beliefs and participate in treatment is a key step in recovery.
Social inclusion offers opportunities to re-engage with the community and form positive relationships. Consumer involvement is the practice of integrating people with lived experience of homelessness into staff and leadership roles at homeless service agencies. Consumers may provide peer support as role models and resources for other services. Peer support creates a sense of belonging for both the individual providing the service and those receiving the support.
Find more information on social inclusion and its role in recovery:
- Carter Center Helps Shape Public Policy on Mental Health – 2015
- Former Homeless Author Promotes Social Inclusion – 2015
- PHC Leverages Volunteer Network to Promote Social Inclusion – 2014
- Social Exclusion in Emergency Care – 2013
Learn more about peer support and social inclusion.
Access more mental and substance use disorders and homelessness resources or search SAMHSA’s store.