Mental health social work

Mental health social work

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Mental health is more than a lack of psychological disorders, the positive dimension of mental health is as defined by the World Health organisation (2015) “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the nonappearance of disease or infirmity.” The most important aspects of mental health include intergenerational dependence, subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, and competence. It also has been defined as a state of well-being where people can endure the normal stresses of life, perform well in work, and contribute positively to their communities (Jones, 2013). It involves enhancing individual competencies and helping them in achieving their planned aspirations. This health should be a concern to everyone rather than only those who have a mental disorder.

They affect society as a whole, hence a major challenge to the world, the risk is higher among the homeless, victims of violence, the poor, children, persons with low education, and adolescents. According to the world health organisation statistics, about 450 million people in the world suffer from mental disorders (Kessler et al., 2013). In 2006, 33% of years lived with disability were seen as caused by neuropsychiatric disorders. Unipolar depressive disorder can cause 12.15% of years with disability and is the third most probable cause of diseases globally. Neuropsychiatric conditions account for 15% of (DALY’s), HIV/AIDS 6%, and intentional injuries for 4%. The latter two carry a behavioural component connected to mental health.

Mental functioning is apparently related to physical activity, for example, depression can be caused by cancer stress, and heart diseases. Mental disorders such as anxiety and depression may cause patients to comply with treatment schedules poorly. Moreover, some behaviours such as sex and smoking activities are linked to the development of physical disorders such as carcinoma. These problems affect the way one thinks, feels, and behaves. In Britain and other parts of the world, they affect one in four people. They range from common mental health challenges such as anxiety and depression to more severe problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disease (Aspis et al., 2015). A mental health issue feels as bad as other physical illnesses just that it’s subjective. There are many approaches to which mental health concerns should be met, how they are caused, and what treatments they require and most effective. However, there is widespread stigmatization of people suffering from mental health issues and their misunderstanding. Nonetheless, despite these challenges, there is still hope in dealing with this issue.

On the other hand, social workers in mental health play a major role in ensuring people avoid stigmatization and treatment of those affected by mental disorders. They bring a distinctive social rights-based perspective to work. They use advanced social based skills to help those affected by mental illness focus on recovery, support, and influence them with a positive attitude to self-recovery (Blodget et al., 2015). Social workers in mental health are trained to work in collaboration with families and services, optimize involvement, and collaborative solutions. They manage some of the most challenging tasks for society and individuals and take decisions on behalf of persons within legal frameworks balancing the rights of different parties.

The social model of mental health holds social forces as the most important determinants of mental issues. It takes a wider view of psychiatric disorders more than any other model. Moreover, it regards a person’s environment as vital to their behaviour. In some ways, it can be linked to the psychodynamic model, which also views the affected as moulded by external forces. Nonetheless, whereas the psychodynamic model considers mental disorders as highly personalized, the social model sees mental issues based on general theories of groups brought about by observable external factors (Bertolete, 2015).


This is the proportion of a particular population who have had or have a specific characteristic in a given time. It is calculated when one has enough information about the characteristics of the entire population being studied. Rendering to an investigation carried out by the world health organisation, approximately 70$ of children and adolescents live in middle-income countries (2012). The UNICEF predicts that Africa 2050 will contain 37% of people aged under 18 years. The proportion of children is expected to increase by almost half by 2100. The challenges brought by these statistics if true are many, especially given that health services for children are limited in these countries (Clement et al., 2015).

Accurate data on mental disorders for children and youth are required to generate epidemiological estimates as well as inform appropriate authorities during the distribution of health resources. The global burden disease study (GBD, 2010) estimated health issues for 187 countries. This was the largest research conducted in history involving health issues. Systemic reviews for mental disorders were across several countries and ages (Murray et al., 2014). The data was then updated in 2013, the most recent iteration study conducted. It resulted in significant uncertainty levels around burden estimates, in spite of mental disorders being found as the leading causes of disability in those aged between 5 and 25. Moreover, lacking empirical data led to a reduction of visibility of mental health problems in comparison with other illnesses. Hence makes it difficult to put mental health as a priority in health plans (Rogers, 2014).

To cover a large population in these studies, it is important to include parameters such as location, age, and sex. These would help cover a large population; coverage is the proportion of the population being studied, in this case, it is both children and adolescents. The method has been used before to cover data on epidemiological information of high or low prevalence of mental disorders. Between the GBD 2010 and 2014, the coverage of prevalence of mental illness data improved across six diseases with the average global coverage increasing by 5%. The largest increase was witnessed for ASDs because of the addition of a national survey of 5-17-year-olds from Africa. Globally, the coverage of ADHD and CD doubled, while the coverage for EDs increased threefold (Blodget et al., 2015). Prevalence data for both anxiety and depression disorders increased but with different rates of other mental disorders because most studies were conducted in countries where data on mental illness was already collected.

Etiology, signs, and symptoms.

‘Stressed out’ and ‘out of control’ are words commonly used by people to describe today’s life in the world. More than 500 million people suffer from anxiety disorders in the world. However, not everyone who suffers from the disorder is treated accordingly, and of those that are treated, only a third of them find relief. According to Murray (2014) “researchers are beginning to learn that anxiety disorders run in families and that they have a biological basis, much like allergies or diabetes and other disorders, anxiety disorders may develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events” (234). Anxiety disorders are associated with severe, increased hospitalization, long-term depression, and suicide rates. They are linked to social and environmental factors. People with this mental disorder are at high risk of developing drug dependence disorders and other medical conditions such as ulcers, arthritis, and other medical complications. (Bertolete, 2015)

Generalized anxiety disorder is caused by continued worry about routine life activities. The fear lasts for about six months; the victim anticipates the worst though there is little reason to expect it. It is associated with symptoms such as muscle tension, fatigue, temporomandibular joint syndrome, or nausea. Women are more likely to suffer from generalized anxiety disorder than men. (Ginnons et al., 2016) Obsessive-compulsive disorder is caused by fear and unwanted thoughts brought about by ritualized behavior; the symptoms are compulsions and recurrent obsessions that occur one hour per day and cause marked distress. More than 10% of people around the world suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder; this makes it more common than schizophrenia. A recent study by the NIMH has shown that the disorder is associated with eating disorders, major depressive disorder, and Tourette’s syndrome and responds so well to medication. The disorder is characterized by “a pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and control.” (Aspis et al., 2015)

One in one hundred people will have schizophrenia, a severe brain disorder that affects a person’s behaviour. When untreated, the disorder causes hallucinations, fear, and withdrawal. The essential features of the disorder are the presence of certain features such as hallucination, deterioration from performance in work, self-care, and social relations, and occurs for a duration of six months (Clement et al., 2015). According to the NIMH, there are several types of schizophrenia, and different symptoms for all of them as paranoid types one often feels anxious and angrier, for disorganized types one has thinking problems and often exhibit childlike behaviours and for catatonic types, one is in a constant state of unrest. Their muscles become rigid and have odd facial expressions.

The characteristic symptoms involve many delusions (for example.,” the CIA is after me”); delusions of reference in which events and objects are given great significance. Ideas are shifting from one subject to an entirely different and unrelated topic without the speaker showing any consciousness that the subjects are separate. People who have this mental disorder are often emotionally withdrawn, they become preoccupied with illogical ideas or maybe paranoid. With the disorder, the sense of self-worth and individuality are frequently disturbed. Thus, the victim displays inappropriate expressions of emotions (Gili et al., 2013). They demonstrate minimum or no recognition of the world around them. However, citing these behaviours from an individual does not mean they have a mental disorder since some antipsychotic drugs have side effects that appear similar to the symptoms of people who have schizophrenia.

Impacts of mental health issues on the client and significant others

There is growing evidence of the global effects of mental health on clients and significant others. Mental illnesses are among the most important backers of the burden of disabilities in the world. 4of the ten leading causes of disability are mental health issues. They are relevant in both low-income economies and developed countries, cutting across gender, age, and social strata. Moreover, all predictions have shown that in the future we expect more mental health problems. The burden of mental health affecting productivity has been underestimated for a long, the federal kingdom department of Health and the Association of British Industry have discovered that 15-25% of workers experience some form of mental health issues during their working years. In fact, mental disorders are the leading causes of diseases and disability.

The European mental health program of the European Union recognised the impact and prevalence of mental health disorders in the workplace in European countries. The effects of mental health problems in the workplace have severe consequences for both the individual and the productivity of the organisation. Employee performance, staff turnover, rates of illness and absenteeism are issues affected by mental disorders. For example, in the United Kingdom, 70 days are lost every year due to mental issues, this costs employers 2-3 billion every year. In the United States, the average national spending on mental health issues is $30-40 billion, with an estimated 100 million days lost from the workplace every year.

Mental health problems affect the functionality and working capacity of the clients. Depending on the age of the beginning of the disorder, a person’s productivity is adversely affected. Mental disorders are one of the five causes of disability together with musculoskeletal disorders and others. In the European Union, mental disorders are the main reason behind granting disability pensions. The mental issues prevent victims from taking part in the existing building of society. This exclusion leads to diminished productivity and losses in human potential.

The United Nations estimated that 30% of the world’s population is affected in one way or another by mental disorders. For example, a survey conducted in Uganda revealed that households with a member who has a mental disorder have a mean consumption of 60% of the average household. People with mental health issues face numerous barriers to getting equal opportunities-legal, access, environmental and institutional. The negative impacts involve human suffering, stigmatization of the victims and their families, and social exclusion. Unfortunately, the burden is likely to grow in coming years because the global population is aging and continued stress from the increasing social problems including natural disasters, conflict, and violence.

Preventions and findings on the efficiency of interventions

The approach to intervention and prevention of mental disorders lies in the concept of public health, “the process of mobilizing local, state, national and international resources to solve the major health problems affecting communities” (Detels et al., 2014). The Institute of Medicine report proposed a framework for the intervention of mental health issues based on the sorting of the inhibition of physical illness and classic public distinctions in health for tertiary, secondary, and primary prevention. Universal, indicated, and selective interventions are also included within primary prevention in public health. Secondary prevention involves lowering the established cases of mental illness in the population by early detection and treatment of mental diseases. Tertiary prevention includes interventions that reduce disability, enhance rehabilitation and prevent recurrences of the illness (Jacobi et al., 2016). Effective prevention mainly focuses on the primary prevention of mental disorders. It involves reviewing selective and indicated interventions and giving proposals to practitioners and government officials to implement these strategies across countries and regions.

Evidence-based interventions stimulate the use of the best available knowledge for proper decision-making in public health practice. According to (Sackett et al., 2014) “evidence-based prevention and health campaign is the meticulous, explicit and sensible use of existing best evidence to make conclusions about interferences for individuals, communities, and populations that facilitate the currently best possible outcomes in reducing the incidence of diseases and in enabling people to increase control over and improve their health” (p.400). There is growing pressure from the society on accountability of money used in the prevention of mental disorders. Hence evidence is effective to warrant the sustainability of public support.

In an evidence-based intervention, the randomized controlled trial (RCT) is widely accepted as the ‘golden standard’ and the best strategy for reducing the risks that come with illogical conclusions of research on mental health issues. Nonetheless, the randomized controlled trial has limitations in the prevention of mental health problems because of many foci on whole classes, companies, schools, and populations (Clarke et al., 2011). Such designs require long-standing relationships between communities and researchers. Hence other research designs such as time-series designs and quasi-experimental designs should be considered valuable to develop useful evidence on intervention strategies. Some research strategies have been used successfully to evaluate the major causes of mental disorders in some countries around the world, in such scenarios, qualitative studies are essential to provide insight into the causing factors and plan effective strategies to prevent these mental disorders (Jones,2013).


Mental health is an important aspect of our lives, and immediately requires attention since mental illnesses affect 30% of the world’s population, leading to reduced productivity and economic performance in many countries around the world. In this essay, we have looked at mental health from the social perspective or rather, model; mental health is mainly caused by social and environmental factors such as poverty, work and pressure at the workplace to perform better, and the government and cultural practices such as rituals. Mental health social workers are well-trained personnel who deal with issues concerning mental illnesses; they have skills that help deal with individuals suffering from mental health problems and also in their rehabilitation. Also, evidence for intervention in the mental health problem is crucial to provide proper judgments on ways to deal with this subject as we have discussed above in the essay.


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