This positional paper explores the role of personal networks (family and friends) in caring for people with mental health problems. Since the eighties, major changes have been made in the organization and focus of professional mental healthcare. Correspondingly, new expectations and changes in the division of care responsibilities between people with mental health problems, their personal networks and their professional care providers were created. In this paper, I investigate how the transition in mental healthcare changed the allocation of care responsibilities between personal networks, people with mental health problems and professional caregivers. I will consider why care responsibilities of personal networks have been taken for granted in these processes, and discuss whether personal networks should have a more prominent voice in the assignment of care responsibilities, and how this can be done. A theoretical framework of feminist care ethics inspired by scholars such as Margaret Urban Walker, Joan Tronto and Hilde Lindemann is used to reflect on the need for social inclusion.
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