Background While community care is now well established in England, the development and maintenance of social networks of people with long-term mental illness remains a major challenge to services. Aims To investigate the size of the social networks of people with long-term mental illness and the types of social support they receive in relation to their age and accommodation. Sample Thirty-nine men and 46 women (mean age: 61 years; range: 38?88). Forty nine (60 were 65 years or under and 32 (40 were over 65. Methods Participants were interviewed using the Social Network Guide. Comparisons were made using generalised linear modelling. Results Social networks (median 19; range 2?85) were generally larger than those reported in previous studies. Older residents (over 65 years) had closer ties than younger residents. Congregate types of community settings were relatively devoid of social supports. Conclusion Appropriate activities and social contexts are still needed to facilitate the social networks of people with mental illness, in particular, for those aged under 65 years.
- social networks, support, deinstitutionalisation, mental illness