Mental Health Policy

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Mental Health Policy

Mental Health Policy


Policy Issues on the Promotion of Mental Health

The promotion of Mental Health works at three levels and each level is relevant to the whole population, to individuals at risk, vulnerable groups and people with mental health problems. (Clifford Beers Clinic, 2006)

Strengthening individuals - or increasing emotional resilience through interventions to promote self-esteem, life and coping skills, negotiating relationships and parenting skills

Strengthening communities - this involves increasing social inclusion and participation, improving environments, developing health and social services which support mental health, workplace health, community safety and self help networks

Reducing structural barriers to mental health - through initiatives to reduce discrimination and inequalities and to promote access to education, meaningful employment, housing, and support for those who are vulnerable. (Clifford Beers Clinic, 2006)


Perspective is this a problem

Mental Health is thus the emotional and spiritual resilience, which enables us to enjoy life and to survive pain and disappointment and sadness. It is a positive sense of well-being and an underlying belief on our own and other's dignity and worth. Recent transnational and national policies on mental health adopt a broader view than the traditional psychiatric model.   This approach is directed at promoting good mental health, preventing mental ill health and ensuring early intervention when mental health problems occur. It involves looking beyond prevention, to the relationship between mental well-being and physical health; behavioral problems; child abuse; violence and drug and alcohol abuse.   In promotion and prevention policies such social determinants as living and working conditions; homelessness; poverty, social networks and support, unemployment and risk taking behavior are included. In effect it means addressing the mental health impact of public policies, programmes and plans. Over some four decades, a voluminous literature has developed concerning community care for people with mental health problems. This literature has contrasted the aspirations of community care and the manifest deficiencies of the asylum-based services that had previously dominated 'care' provision. 1 Geographical studies have paid particular attention to four inter-related themes: the experiences of the users of community-based services (Parr and Parr), cross-national policy comparisons, the impact of asylum closures in the context of health service restructuring, and, most extensively, the externality consequences of community mental health facilities and the associated issue of the service-dependent ghetto (Clifford Beers Clinic, 2006)

Discrimination and oppression

Running through all this work is a presentation that, in summary terms, sees the asylum as old/the past and community care as new/the future. In recent years this viewpoint has been challenged (Clifford Beers Clinic, 2006), however, and it may be inappropriate to speak of a post-asylum period with accompanying illusions of homogeneous finality in which the asylum and all support for it have disappeared. Popular perceptions, now sanctioned in the US by governmental statements, have suggested that community care has failed. Thus Modernizing Mental Health Services, the key New Labor statement on the medium-term vision for mental health services, proposes a future in which community care is backed up by several hundred new places in acute psychiatric ...
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