The history of mental health is old as humanity. Mental health issues include the psychological, emotional, general social well-being of a human being; this refers to how one feels, acts, and thinks. An individual’s mental health is crucial because it helps manage stress and relationships with others in society. Therefore mental health is crucial in every stage of a human’s life (Bertolote 2008). However, mental health has a very rich history, and the way people perceive mental health has evolved dramatically over the ages. To understand mental health, it is crucial to examine its history and the subsequent evolution to this era. Therefore, understanding the concept of this problem and its impacts on contemporary society, this paper explores its history, development, and outcomes.
History and Development
Mental health has a timeless history. In the past ages, people with mental health issues were assumed to have been possessed with evil spirits. Religion had a very rigid conception of mental health issues and did not allow the scientific concept of mental health. These negative attitudes made it had for practical intervention to mental health issues. For example, the mentally ill people were taken to religious healers who would then pray for them, cursing out the evil spirits from them. This persisted into the 18th century, especially in the United States, thus causing dramatic stigmatization of mentally ill people. The ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greek also had these strong religious views about mentally ill people, categorizing them as people facing religious problems hence could only be treated religiously (Eghigian, 2017). Quintessentially, this rich history of mental illness in the US and other parts of the world is the epitome of how trends in the psychiatric and cultural conception of mental health impact the development of certain national health policies addressing mental health.
The development of the understanding of the issue can be assessed by looking at the shift in the perception and beliefs about mentally ill people in society. First, one would be interested in looking at the evolution of the national healthcare systems worldwide. Introducing an inpatient care model where patients live in hospitals while receiving treatments from the professional staff was one of the initial developments. This is considered one of the most effective ways to deal with mental illness. However, these services were only available to people with severe mental health problems. Up to the 19th century, there had not been a big improvement in handling mental health issues. Again, this left out the most vulnerable groups.
Analysis of the development in mental health issues
Today, the mental health issue is looked at through multiple prisms. This development has made it possible to go beyond looking at mental health in its previous form to broaden the conception of mental health types and their effects on society. Today, the majority of people suffer from mental health issues. For instance, according to research, one in five Americas experiences mental illness at a given time of the year, especially the youths. The advent of technology, exposure to social media, and other social conditions such as gender, economic, class, and status are some of the main causes of mental health issues in contemporary society. While discussing each of these causes is beyond the scope of this paper, it is important to mention that these factors form the talking points in the current mental health debate in society.
There are various interventions to solve the mental health problem. Even though these strategies have not sufficiently addressed the issue, it is believed that with the advancement in technology and research, ways to address the pandemic will be realized (Colizzi et al., 2020). First, there is a need to develop primary prevention in youth mental health by creating a primary prevention model. This model focuses on the general population, sub-group, or specific individuals. Essentially, this strategy states that the groups mentioned above should be monitored throughout the neurodevelopmental stages of their lives (Colizzi et al., 2020). Secondly, research shows that there is limited awareness of mental health problems. Therefore, creating awareness about mental health issues is an important intervention. This can be facilitated through various media mainstreams or other platforms. It begins by letting people know the symptoms of mental health issues, after which they can be encouraged to seek help. The dearth of information about mental health is a leading cause of mental health-related deaths.
Finally, the family system intervention is another important strategy to address mental health issues. This strategy focuses on improving outcomes of persons experiencing any form of mental health disorder through improving family engagement (Morey & Mueser, 2007). The family system method aims at improving the well-being of the patient by ensuring that the care given to such people is appropriate and effective.
In summary, the mental health problem is an existing problem in society. It is a pandemic that has lived with humanity for a long time. The perspectives about mental health have evolved over the ages, from retrogressive to rational views. This shift has resulted in a tremendous improvement in the management of mental health. However, as a perennial problem, there is a need to develop practical strategies for dealing with the menace. Many youths and adults experience mental health due to a lack of awareness. Therefore, besides promoting awareness, other interventions such as the primary prevention model and family system invention have been identified as the most important means of addressing mental health issues. With a focus on regions with high mental health causes, such as the US, this paper has identified recommended interventions required for mental health issues in a population.
Bertolote J. (2008). The roots of the concept of mental health. World psychiatry: official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), 7(2), 113–116. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2051-5545.2008.tb00172.x
Eghigian, G. (2017). The Routledge History of Madness and Mental Health. Routledge. https://doi.org/9781351784399, 1351784390
Colizzi, M., Lasalvia, A., & Ruggeri, M. (2020). Prevention and early intervention in youth mental health: is it time for a multidisciplinary and trans-diagnostic model for care?. International Journal Of Mental Health Systems, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13033-020-00356-9
Morey, B., Mueser, K. T. (2007). The Family Intervention Guide to Mental Illness: Recognizing Symptoms & Getting Treatment. United States: New Harbinger Publications.