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Mental Health as Social Problem Essay

Mental illness can be a social problem because there are a lot of mental illnesses that affect how you socialize with the world. For instance, anxiety / panic disorders affect your ability to communicate with the world. Social anxiety disorder equals social phobia. With social anxiety disorder, you find it hard if not impossible to talk to anyone. Typically a person with social anxiety disorder will sit by themselves, withdrawn from society due to their phobia of it. A person with severe depression could be affected socially as well. A depressed person will typically be withdrawn and won’t open up about his/her feelings. They are not likely to be happy, social, or cheerful. They tend to be downers and social loners. If a person is depressed, usually family and friends might be able to pick up on it. Depressive people are also prone to suicide.

Suicide is obviously a huge social problem as suicide is one of the highest killers in the world today. The high profile news stories that hit the tabloids about mothers who kill their kids due to post-partum depression or some other mental illness are defiantly a social problem. The Columbine, the Virginia Tech shooting, Heritage High School, etc. people involved in the school shootings had mental illnesses of some sort. The guy responsible for the Virginia Tech shooting had antisocial personality disorder; the child responsible for Heritage High School was depressed, etc. A lot of the school shootings were caused by people that massacred, and then killed themselves all of these people had some kind of mental illness. The families of people with mental illnesses are also affected. There are therapy sessions directed towards the whole family that are designed to help the family cope with a family member’s mental illnesses.

I watched a show on TV, the episode dealt with two families whose daughters were diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. The episode talked about the sacrifices that the parents of the family had to make to take care of their mentally ill children. The family members of people with mental illnesses try to work with the mentally ill to see how they are doing, to help them cope with life, to manage medicines, and to even provide some at home therapy. Mental illness is very much a social problem when you consider the consequences when mental illness is ignored. Mental illness does not only affect the person who is diagnosed of it but anyone and everyone that he/she is connected to.

The families of people with mental health problems tend to find it difficult also with the Care in the Community Act (CCA) in place, where people with mental health problems stay in their own homes and are visited every week by a Community Psychiatric Nurse. The CCA was put in place by the Thatcher government, and as a result nearly all of the big psychiatric hospitals were torn down and all that remains now are small clinics with fewer beds mainly used for people with severe mental health problems.

The patients that used to be cared for in hospitals are now being cared for in the community. In a lot of cases this is not helpful for the patient or the community as sometimes their needs are not met fully. Not everybody in communities is sympathetic to people with mental health problems and this can also have a detrimental effect on the person with the problems. Understanding of mental health from the general public is a bit better than it used to be, but there is still a long way to go. A lot of people think that Thatcher’s idea for Care in the Community was just a way to cut beds and save money rather than caring about the patient’s welfare. Also employment is hard to find for anyone.


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