Generated by the dominant able-bodied culture and enacted, the marginalization and disenfranchisement of persons with mental illness becomes a problem to be addressed by social workers. Social workers work with people in need to address social problems and support the self-determination of clients. Addressing social problems by helping people in need supports the social worker value of service, which the National Association of Social Workers, NASW (2008) denotes as the primary goal of social workers. Being able to vote and knowing the processes for voting is a right for mentally ill individuals and disenfranchisement impinges this right making it a social problem which social workers can address.
Other social work principles are also central to understanding how and why social workers should address disenfranchisement of persons with mental illness. NASW (2008) state that social workers seek to challenge social injustice while supporting the dignity and worth of the person. By challenging social norms and stigmas to...
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... in the Law, 2008; McHugh, 2013; Raad et al., 2009; Smoyak, 2007). These laws which create disenfranchisement for persons with mental illness are rooted in a capitalist society where able-ism is valued and mental illness is vilified through stigmas and myths perpetrated by the media (Mullins, 2014).
Social workers can affect change and end disenfranchisement of persons with mental illness by challenging social injustice and supporting the dignity and worth of all persons (NASW, 2008). Social workers can achieve and support these values by working to challenge and change stigmas towards mental illness by challenging public myths and stigmas through mezzo- and macro-level work while also seeking to analyze and change the laws and policies which marginalize, oppress, and disenfranchise persons with mental illness (Davis, 2012; Lawn et al., 2014; Overton & Medina, 2008)
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