The Phenomenon of Social Isolation in the Severely Mentally Ill


  • Conflict of Interest Statement
  • The authors report no actual or potential conflicts of interest.
  • No external or intramural funding was received.

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The phenomenon of social isolation is closely linked with the experience of having a severe mental illness (SMI). This paper offers scholarly perspectives and analyses of the phenomenon of social isolation as it applies to people with SMI by highlighting relevant definitional, historical, theoretical, and conceptual understanding surrounding this phenomenon.


Stigma, alienation, and existential loneliness when taken together provide an understanding of the multidimensional problem of social isolation for people with SMI.

Practice Implications

Mental health services should be provided which take into account the importance of human contact and social connection for people who live with SMI. Services can be offered which are designed to develop social skills, as well as to create opportunities for social connection and community involvement.