Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Michael Chovanec, Ph.D., LICSW


Social Work


The purpose of this project was to explore the impact of social support in the lives of individuals with serious mental illness (SMI). Using a qualitative design, eight mental health practitioners with experience working with individuals afflicted by SMI reflected on the ways social support impacts individuals with SMI. The findings of this study appear to correlate with the literature review. This study identified that social support can be enhanced for individuals with SMI through: providing psychoeducation to families, offering programs that provide peer support, involvement with professionals in an ongoing and consistent relationship, implicit learning of new skills that foster independency, and by implicit learning from professionals modeling healthy communication skills. These findings underscore the different ways social support provides individuals a sense of connection with his or her community, decreases isolation and severity of symptoms, and fosters hope and possibility for individuals afflicted with SMI.

Included in

Social Work Commons