Written by the Inclusion Health Lived Experience Research Working Group, on behalf of Inclusion Health Partnership.
Research was conducted by the Inclusion Health Partnership to develop and deepen the understanding of the lived experience of marginalised communities and how Covid-19 has impacted on wider aspects of health and wellbeing. A report on this work has now been published by Voluntary Health Scotland (VHS) on behalf of the partnership.
The study was based on a peer research model, delivered in partnership with organisations that support marginalised communities, which sought to co-develop the research with people with lived experience. The research explored the unique needs and circumstances of individuals who are disadvantaged by systems and services. It identified six cross-cutting issues experienced by different marginalised groups, including:
- Human rights and health
- Impact on mental health and wellbeing
- Impact of the pandemic on sense of purpose and control
- Access to statutory public services
- Access to community, social support and social networks
- Digital access.
- This report gives insight into how COVID-19 has impacted on the wider aspects of health and wellbeing for people from marginalised and excluded communities.
- Public sector organisations have a duty to uphold the right to health for marginalised and excluded communities; this is more important than ever as the harms from the Covid-19 pandemic are not spread equally.
- By understanding the lived experience of marginalised communities and collaborating to use this evidence from experience to influence stakeholders, this research seeks to support the progressive realisation of human rights in Scotland and ensure that we ‘build back better’ for all communities.
- Research was carried out in a way which sought to ensure that participants are supported, empowered and informed about the process.
- Findings have provided a greater understanding to public organisations and those that provide services of some of the issues faced by marginalised groups during the pandemic and resulting lockdowns.
- The research identified six cross-cutting issues and draft recommendations have been developed to address these six issues.
- Many participants were not aware of their right to health. To ensure rights are respected, the need for training of statutory services to provide support in a dignified manner that would allow all service users to be free from stigma and discrimination is suggested.
- It’s important to recognised that for many people with poor mental health, it is difficult to replace high quality face-to-face mental health support.
- The pandemic and lockdown measures significantly impacted people’s sense of control over their lives and impeded their ability to access support and services as well as having implications on people’s financial circumstances.
- The research highlights a range of issues around access to statutory public services such as poor communication, lack of follow up from health services and continuity of care.
- Digital technology played an important role in relieving loneliness and social isolation during lockdowns which also highlighted the need to ensure all forms of digital exclusion are addressed.
Reflecting on the findings, Derek Holliday, Peer Development Lead at Homeless Network Scotland & Lead Researcher, said:
“In the 21st century, we should be providing equal access to information and choice underpinned by the right to health and delivered with dignity, compassion and inclusiveness.
We have the right to be treated as individuals and not as a cohort, we should strive to promote individualism free from discrimination and stigma irrespective of culture, sexual orientation, social status or disability.
This will promote power over prejudice. This will promote democracy over inequality. This will promote positive health outcomes for all.”
News Article from the University of Strathclyde – Marginalised communities “not aware of right to health” during pandemic
Research working group
Jamie Bird, HUG (Action for Mental Health)
Anna Cook, CLiCK
Julie Davidson, Healthcare Improvement Scotland
Derek Holliday, Homeless Network Scotland
Alison King, Public Health Scotland
Sue Lyons, HUG (Action for Mental Health)
Lisa Martin, Public Health Scotland
Mohamed Omar, Mental Health Foundation
Susan Paxton, Community Health Exchange
Neil Quinn, University of Strathclyde
Katrina Reid, Public Health Scotland
Louise Rennick, Public Health Scotland
Kiren Saeed Zubairi, Voluntary Health Scotland
Heather Williams, CLiCK/Encompass Network.
Please contact Kimberley Somerside if you have any questions.