Individuals with psychiatric illness believe that voting is important. However, these individuals have lower rates of voting when compared to the general population. A survey of psychiatrically hospitalized adult patients was conducted to assess perceptions of and barriers to voting in patients with psychiatric illness. Data from 113 surveys was analyzed. A majority of survey participants agreed that they cared about voting, that their vote made a difference, and that their vote was important. 74% of individuals reported previously experiencing at least one barrier when exercising their right to vote. The most commonly experienced barriers reported were not having enough information to make an informed choice, not knowing where to vote, not having transportation, and not being registered to vote. Individuals who encountered a higher number of barriers in the past had a higher chance of encountering barriers more often. In conclusion, a high percentage of individuals with mental illness severe enough to warrant hospitalization have experienced barriers to voting, with many experiencing multiple barriers. Reduction of these barriers is important, as voting and the resultant public policies can directly affect this population’s mental health and access to both mental and physical healthcare services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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