Over the last couple of years there has been a commendable and successful approach to provision of health care services. The changes are in line with major governmental and nongovernmental organization policies aimed to reduce neglect in medical advancement and provision that often leads to a high number of deaths and dispossession of funds that could be adverted in other development plans. On the same note, researchers, doctors and nurses, as well as community initiated projects, have played a large role in shaping the approach of medical care. Perhaps the greatest challenge in the improvement of medical care provision lies in the branch of mental health treatment. This is due to the conservative perspective and stigma that the society had about mental health (Smith & Giggs, 1988). The perspective can be traced as far back as the traditional association of mentally handicapped person as being outcast or being possessed by demons. A lot of people in the past associated mental handicap or sickness with possession with evil spirits, and it was rare for the society to accommodate such people. Researchers such as Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung played a major role in introducing psychological platforms that made it easier for the society to understand and gain interest towards the mental health treatment and care. This was reflected in governments funding and cooperation to build more mental centers and at the same introduction of balanced policies aimed to improve the mental health sector (Smith & Giggs, 1988).
For the purpose of research, mental health treatment amounts to activities that are objected to result to a status of successful performance of mental occupation and fulfilling relationships with the society by mentally handicapped people. Therefore, mental health treatment changes will be reviewed in the scope of society perception of mental health treatment, government and non governmental organizations response to mental health treatment and research and literature facilitating changes in mental health care.
Society Perception of Mental Health Treatment
The society in the past, as far back as the 18th century, had little understanding of mental handicap as diseases just other disease. Due to this, mentally handicapped people were neglected by the society and did not receive proper treatment (Smith & Giggs, 1988). The first step towards mental health treatment is for the society to identify and appreciate in helping mentally handicapped person to receive treatment. This relates to identifying the mentally handicapped person’s needs and matching them with the right treatment center. The mentally handicapped person cannot do this alone. Lack of appreciation for the mental illness laid a major challenge in treatment, as in some cases the victim were chained in houses or trees ( some of these cases are present in low numbers in the modern society). The society as a whole had little or no interest in improving the state of conditions for mentally ill people to receive the right treatment.
Distinguishing the various levels and classes of mental health illness was probably very hard in the past due to lack of interest in the discipline. Mental illness was just mental illness, ‘something very bad and with no cure’. However, as time passed by, people started appreciating mentally ill individuals and started to develop interest in the discipline of mental illness. This was perhaps due to rise in the number of mentally ill people who came along with changes in the lifestyle, especially that could contribute to artificial mental illness, such as drugs and alcohol. Cases of mental illness had become prevalent in the society, and therefore, the society had to develop interest, as almost everyone was becoming affected by the issue. The definition and understanding of mental illness and treatment broadened, perhaps due to the research coming up each day (Wahl, 1997). The media also played a large role in aiding the people to understand the different approaches and scope of mental illness and its treatment.
In the modern era, between early 1980 up to date, new mental health issues have emerged in the scope of understanding and definition for mental health. The society has become aware if the various dimensions of mental illness and the required approaches for mental treatment. The society has shaped the way the medical treatment is approached through the various campaigns and awareness programs (Smith & Giggs, 1988). At the same time the society has become more interested in aiding the mental illness to fit in the society through recognizing the mental illness various needs and making reservations in the job market and other social institutions such as schools. However, people still find it hard to talk about the 'problems of the mind’. Despite the difficulty to speak openly about mental illness, taboo associated with mental illness has been conked and the society is wiling to accommodate and associate with mentally ill people. This is achieved through platforms such as mental health charities, counseling and therapists groups: majority of the shows being broadcasted on TV chat shows, which scrutinize every feature of our emotional lives (Wahl, 1997).
The media has played a large role of transforming the society towards approaching and defining various mental illnesses. On the same note, literature used in schools has played a major role in shaping the societies’ perception of mental illness. In return, the stigma attached to mental illness gradually erodes as time goes on, but the number of people being referred for treatment is doubling at a rapid speed. For example, the number of patients being referred for mental treatment has grown more than four times the number (it was 50 years ago). There are questions as to whether the number is growing due to the erosion of the stigma that had been attached to mental health or it is because the number of mentally ill people is on the increase (Wahl, 1997).
The media has played both negative and positive roles in approaching the issue of mental health treatment. The media can act as a platform for accessing treatment approaches to mental illness and at the same time increase the number of mental cases (Wahl, 1997). The e the media provides a diverse base for information that can affect mental health treatment in both ways; negative and positive (Smith & Giggs, 1988). For example, the mass media is the primary source of information in regard to mental health. Therefore, the media has the power to spread the stereotypes associated with the mental illness or can at the same time condemn the stereotypes associated with mental illness. There is a large connection between how the society interprets the media description of mental illness and how the societie’s negative mind-set toward populace with mental health problems. The mass media can also play a large role in organizing platforms for association between the mentally handicapped people and the right router to take for treatment. This is achieved through adverts portrayed in the media. Some of the adverts are good, while others are misleading. Before the media broadcast, some of the adverts it should charge the advertiser a charge for checking if their premises are worthy to be advertised. However, in this case the media would be playing the role of the government. Due to such challenges and loopholes the media remains a positive and negative platform for changing the way the society interprets changes in mental health treatment (Wahl, 1997).
Government and Organizations Response to Mental Health Treatment
Due to the social change and appreciation of the mental health treatment and its components, governmental bodies have been forced to change their approach towards the mentally handicapped (Appelbaum, 1994). More so, it has become the government to see that health is provided in all scopes to ensure a productive population. Certain non-governmental bodies such W.H.O have set their goals towards healthy nations such as Healthy People 2020 Project. The project is aimed at ensuring that health is provided justifiably and create awareness for people to live a healthy lifestyle, and mental health is one of it goals (Leading Health Indicators for Healthy People 2020, 2011). Governmental bodies have also made various Legislations that give attention to the provision of services for people with mental illness, including new platforms for access to and treatment and prevention services. These platforms amount to the provision of health care staff, medication and mental facilities. Numerous mental facilities have been created and increasing the choices of a mental illness person decision of where to get treatment. On the same note, the process of admitting mentally ill person has run into the scope of voluntary and involuntary admission. The government has the right to force an involuntary admission as per the observation made I the check up stage. The mentally sick also have the choice of which relatives should be involved in their care. This is unlike in the past where there was little effort by the government to see that mentally treatment process runs smoothly in favor of the mental illness. A lot of mental health facilities that had been closed down in the early 1980s are being revamped to cater for the rising dimension and diversity of mental health (Appelbaum, 1994).
Corporate bodies, such as the insurance industry have come of age by recognizing the needs of the mental illness by introducing an insurance cover that caters for the mental illness. The mental health insurance cover came in place after governments pushed for what Barry (2004) refers as Mental Health Equitable Acts for “provision of more equitable comprehensive Parity for mental health benefits”. On the same note, organizations have started to recognize the mentally ill people in the workforce. The organizations encourage re entry of the victims back to the workforce after medication, and issue favorable work in respect to the victim challenges.
Research and Literature Facilitating Changes in Mental Health Care
Research in the mental field has led to the society, government and organizations empowerment of tools to tackle the problem of mental illness. Nelson, Lord & Ochocka (2001) define empowerment as “opportunities for and conditions that promote choice and control, community integration and shared resources”. Nelson et al. (2001) goes ahead to term mental health as “development and acquisition of choice and control, community integration and shared resources”. Research in the dimension of defining the diversity and scope of mental health field remains as the pillar for the change in the amount of interest paid to mental health treatment. It is through research and the rich literature that the society became aware of the need for changing the attitude towards mental health treatment.
Research revealed alternatives ways to approach the mental illness problem. The new approaches were in the dimension exercise and proper nutrition. Researchers revealed that proper exercise and nutrition could lead to recovery of a number of mental illnesses. This is after considering that exercise and proper diet contribute to both physical and mental states wellbeing. Yoga is one of the platforms for achieving the well being of the mental state, through its platform of meditation. In the food dimension, scientists discovered foods that could boost the mental wellbeing and the quantities that they are supposed to be consumed. This jumped the society from the traditional perspective of a ‘killer injection jab’ to control the ‘madness’ of the mentally ill person. Nowadays, through the multiple psychotherapy approaches, victims receive treatment at the comfort of a chair or at their homes through watching online digital content in their TVs or computers.
Currently there are a number of approaches to treat prevailing disorders such depression, ADHD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mental health disorders. Successive theories have been developed to explain and offer treatment for mental illnesses. Most of the theories have been tested and worked well on patients. For example, Dialectical Behavior Therapy tackles how interpersonal regulation is disturbed in common mental illnesses such as depression and BPD. Meta-analysis of literature has also boosted the approach to mental treatment as it enables reviewing of multiple medical literatures that summarize reliable and up to date scientific evidence. The process of reviewing the literature is done in the scope of generating a credible approach to prognosis or diagnosis, causation and treatment. Meta analysis allows the possibility of combination and evaluation of similar studies to improve the meticulousness of approaching prognosis or diagnosis, causation and treatment effect, and assess whether the approaches effects are parallel with similar previous situations.
Over the years, complains about the perception of doctors handle mental illness has changed from a negative scope to a positive scope. Mainly the doctors behaved in the negative way, while taking care of mentally ill patients due to work pressure. However, over the years, the pressure has reduced due to platforms of networking and understanding mental illness to the doctor, the community, government and organization. Perhaps it is due to the massive and precise research that deals with the diversity of mental disorders that helped change the negative image of mentally ill people and mental health treatment.