Enabling Access to Welfare Services - the Place of Social Solidarity and Dialogue

Rachana Patni

Abstract

The welfare state in the UK presents immigrant communities with a set of institutions, which are potentially new and unknown. What is the best way to ensure that the questions of access to the welfare institutions are best managed? Trusting, understanding and feeling solidarity with the welfare state will obviously help with this problem. In order to shed light on this phenomenon, this paper presents a qualitative exploratory study dealing with elements of solidarity as perceived by members of the South Asian Community in the UK. Six indepth interviews with South Asian first generation immigrants who had never experienced mental health problems were conducted. They were asked questions about who their support networks would be in the event of them experiencing mental health problems. The thematic analysis of the interviews suggests that the respondents believed that solidarity and support ties are found to be present in families, within the south Asian community and also with welfare institutions. It is concluded that there although things are far from perfect, assimilation and integration based on dialogue is an observable positive aspect of mental health service provision in the UK.

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