How the View of Mental Illness Has Changed Over the Past 50 Years

Even though there have been numerous advancements in the way of treating mental disorders in the past 50 years, there is still a certain stigma surrounding the views on mental illness. Many people still mistakenly believe that someone with a mental illness is simply lazy or they will place blame on the parents if the patient is a child. These feelings even radiate through insurance companies that are many times reluctant to pay for necessary mental health treatments. However, science has concluded that mental illness is the direct cause of genetics combined with environmental factors.

Deinstitutionalizing Mental Facilities

Several decades ago in the 1960s, the deinstitutionalization movement brought about an abrupt, 180 degree change in the way patients with mental illness were handled and treated. This movement called for the removing of mentally ill patients from state and private institutions where many times these people received little to no care and treatment. This was done in order to alternatively give patients medications and therapy. When this movement took place, the tides begin to change in regards to the general attitude of those with a mental illness. The idea behind this was to make the public believe these people were members of the community and not just “crazies” in need of institutionalization.

Family Therapy

And research has proven that a patients relationship with their family members can positively or negatively affect their mental illness. Because of this research, family therapy was born and this therapy has allowed those with an illness to stay out of institutions. Today, the treating physician as well as the active family members are directly responsible for integrating people with mental illness into society.

Treatment Centers

Also, if a mentally ill person needs to be hospitalized, there is less of a chance now than before that they will be subject to restraints and isolation. Today’s psychiatry leans toward day treatment centers where there are less staff members and an increased emphasis on group therapy as opposed to individual therapy, which paved the course for halfway houses as well as allowing patients with mental illness to go home at night and still receive treatment during the day.

Problems with Deinstitutionalizing

Of course, there were some negatives that came along with the deinstitutionalizing of metal facilities. There are some people with mental illness who should be put into an institution because they are dangerous to themselves and others. However, because putting them into an institution or a state hospital without their consent is not a legal option, these people have either made their way into prisons or out onto the streets.

Support Organizations

The mental health experts of today understand that those with mental illness greatly benefit from social networks providing care, acceptance, and support even in the most difficult of times. And mentally ill people who receive this kind of support tend to recover faster. Because the individual communities throughout society are not as close knit as they once were, mentally ill patients no longer receive their primary support from family and friends, which finally brought about the explosion of support organizations.

Source by Christine Crotts

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