Sociological Theories Of Mental Illness

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It is hard to define mental illness because within our society it is viewed in many different ways. Currently, there are several definitions: mental illness as the absence of mental health, as sickness, as difficulty in social adaptation, or as unpleasant or abnormal behavior that others would label as insanity (Leighninger & Popple, 2011). The most common definition viewed by society is mental illness as a disease. However you define it, mental illness is a common health problem affecting millions of people in all age groups. There are also various theories on the causes of mental illness such as: the psychological approach, the psychological-development approach, the behavioral approach, and the environmental-sociological approach. In 2014, …show more content…
Social work became involved in mental health through Ida Cannon’s work at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1906 and through Mary Jarrett’s program in 1913 at Boston Psychiatric, where psychiatric social work was established as a specialty (Dubois & Miley, 2014). Over the last fifty years, mental health services have significantly changed. Since mental health care services were provided up to the 1960s, people who were considered to be emotionally disturbed received care in mental asylums and hospitals. In the 1950s, tranquilizing and other psychoactive drugs became widely used because they made it easier to control and work with mental patients. After a while more emphasis was placed upon working with the patients and their families, instead of trying to control them. One of the biggest changes in mental health services is deinstitutionalization, which was a court decision that placed limits on the rights of government to deny freedom to people who were mentally disabled. These new limits greatly reduced the amount of involuntary check-ins of people with mental illnesses to public hospitals. As a result of deinstitutionalization, patients are spending much less time in mental hospitals. Stays that might have lasted as long as a lifetime are now being shortened to a period of only a few weeks or months. Patients are now beginning to be released from hospitals and placed in community settings …show more content…
Social workers are the largest provider of mental health services in the United States, even more than psychiatrists and psychologists. Social workers in the mental health field provide many kinds of services. Social workers can provide services in private practice settings, but the majority of services are offered in community-based agencies. A major part of social workers jobs in mental hospitals is discharge planning. Discharge planning is helping patients return to their communities by helping them with housing, supervision and companionship from their family and friends, and making connections with community mental health centers who are able to monitor the patients when they are discharged and help provided the necessary treatment (Ginsberg, 2001). Social workers also work in mental hospitals assisting patients who are accused of crimes and help with recommendations about their trials and their sentences if they are found guilty and convicted. It is also likely for a social worker to help in the development of government policies and legislation for mental health. Social workers might find job opportunities in hospitals, rehabilitation

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