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Mental Health Care:A New Approach

Updated on October 14, 2012
It is time for a new approach to mental illness
It is time for a new approach to mental illness | Source

The problem with traditional mental health care which is currently being addressed is twofold:

1.An over-emphasis on the use of the medical model.

2.An over-use of inpatient treatment.

The development of a recovery model of care has required a change of attitude by service providers and service users.This is a cultural change in many ways and is being rolled out gradually within the mental health service.

Some statistics claim that one quarter of people will have mental health difficulties at one time or another.A focus on care provision using the medical model ignores the importance of the right economic and social factors being in place to facilitate recovery.This was evident in the past when the whole emphasis was on medication based treatments.

There is an increased emphasis on and increased resources for community based care instead of inpatient care in the recovery model,The rate of readmission to inpatient care facilities is evidence of the limited efficacy of the medical model of treatment.

Furthermore, there are now more resources directed towards recognizing and developing mental health promotion resources.Many support groups are being developed by the users of the service who are becoming more proactive in their own care as time goes on.

The traditional medical model of the psychiatrist prescribing medication is fast losing it's influence in the new recovery model of care.The emphasis is now on a more holistic approach considering social and economic factors in the context of improving and maintaining positive mental health.

The recovery model of mental health care is different from the traditional medical model in a number of ways.It emphasizes personal growth and development fostering the ability to live a more normal life in spite of the limits imposed by mental illness.It puts the focus on individuals as active participants in their own care rather than just being the recipients of the care in the traditional medical model.There is also more liaison between those providing the mental health services and those services developed by users in the recovery model.

There are more advocacy groups run by users of mental health services for their peers with the emphasis on people taking more control of their lives than was possible in the traditional medical model of the doctor being all-powerful and the patient passively cooperating.

The focus on inpatient care is moving more towards an emphasis on community-based care instead within two main areas:

1.Developing awareness of positive mental health throughout the community.

2.Provision of community-based mental health services which are accessible to users.

Instead of the traditional medical model of psychiatrist only based care there is now a trend towards a multidisciplinary team approach where members of a mental health care team liaise among themselves and with service users.

This change from the medical model to the recovery model is a positive one both for the service users and the service providers.Service users can avail of a more holistic approach to their care while being empowered to take more responsibility for their own mental health.Service providers can avail of the support of a multidisciplinary team while getting more job satisfaction from the ensuing reduced rate of relapse and readmission which will hopefully result as the recovery model of mental health care continues to gradually replace the medical one.


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    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 5 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      You are right about that-there is a long way to go;it's more of an evolution than a revolution really.Thanks for your visit and your positive feedback

    • gsidley profile image

      Dr. Gary L. Sidley 5 years ago from Lancashire, England

      Great hub on a really important topic.

      Western psychiatric services still have a long, long way to go to be able to claim they provide recovery-orientated services. But encouragingly, things are changing, albeit slowly.

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 5 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      Thanks for your feedback and for sharing the hub

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      So many of us were taught using the medical model--I agree, that attitudes are shifting in a meaningful way. Sharing this if you do not mind!