Type: Research Essays
Sample donated: Laurence Hall
Last updated: April 20, 2019
Mental illness a seriouscondition that can effect people in different ways.
It can often have an effectphysically and also mentally. Mental illness can have an effect on our emotionsby effecting how we think and do certain things. It also can often effect howwe interact with other people , the way we handle stressful situations andoften the choices we make. In this essay I will explore some key conceptsimpacting on people with mental health issues and their support. These key aspects includeculture , age , stigma &discrimination, People who face differentmental issues are often said to have abnormal behaviour/ thoughts to that whichis seen as a norm in the society they live in .Abnormality is a term thatis difficult to define due to the wide range of behaviours displayed bypeople. Subjective abnormality canbe defined as an individual feeling of abnormality, including feelings ofanxiety, depression and losing touch with reality. Szasz (1972) argues thatabnormality is created in order to labelpeople who do not conform to social norms or rules of different societies .
TheAmerican Psychiatric Society, for example, classified homosexuality as a mentaldisorder until 1973 (Flanagan C et al ,2015). Statistical Infrequency iswhen the way an individual thinks and their behaviour is seen as abnormalbecause it is not usual in the society which they are in (Cardwell,2009).The limitation of thisdefinition is that although some behaviours or traits may be rare or unusual,it doesn’t take into consideration how desirable the particular behaviour maybe. For example using this term would mean that many people would argue thatsomeone with an IQ below or above the average level of IQ in society isabnormal.
However most would agree that, someone who has an IQ level abovethe normal average wouldn’t be classified as abnormal in society, rather theywould be praised and acknowledged for it (Flanagan C et al ,2015).There are four core ethicswhich are essential to health care. These are respect forpatient autonomy; the duty to act with beneficence; non maleficence; andjustice(Engelhardt H and Tristram J 1996). In order for these core ethics to beproperly met allowing patients to have the best possible care , it is essential for practitioners to understandeach patient and these key aspects have on their mental health and the support they receive .Firstly cultural barrier andmisunderstanding between health care professionals and patients can have agreat impact on people with mental health issues and the support they receive.
This is because Social norms are specific to cultures,and may not be understoodby others when in a different environment/culture for example Britishpsychiatrists who are mainly male, white and middle class may not be able tofully understand the behavior, emotions and motivations of individuals fromdifferent cultural and social backgrounds.This could explain why Afro-Caribbeanimmigrants are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia(Cochrane 1977) Failure to FunctionAdequately is when a person isconsidered to have mental issues if theyare unable to cope with the demands of everyday life. They may be unable toperform the behaviors necessary for day-to-day living such as self-careand holding down a job(Cardwell,2009).Rosenhan & Seligman(1989) suggest that the following characteristics define failure to functionadequately these are: Suffering, Unpredictably & loss of control,Irrationality/incomprehensibility, Violates moral/social standards etcIt is important for healthprofessionals to understand the patients background to know whether they arefailing to act adequately according to the culture they are from before makinga diagnoses. Understanding the patients culture will help treatments to be besttailored to suit them.
Lack of understanding and awareness of the patientsorigin can influence the individuals mental wellbeing and the support they receive. It is important forpsychologists to understand the individuals culture in order to effectivelydiagnose and support them. The article of unite for sight on the culturalperspectives on mental health highlights how the view of mental illness may bedivided, even within the same culture.Study by Abdullah et al.(2011)explains how American Indians view mental illness. Some tribes do notstigmatize mental illness, others stigmatize some mental illnesses, and othertribes stigmatize all mental illnesses.
This shows how even within the sameculture mental illness can be viewed differently. It is important forpractitioners to understand this and the influence it could have on theindividuals mental health, their willingness to seek for help and ability to open up about their mentalillness (Flanagan C et al ,2015) . Furthermore the differences in origins of thehealth care professionals and their patients, may create misunderstanding ofthe individuals mental illness and results in treatment often not been tailoredproperly to meet the patients’ needs.This could have an immense impact on the wellbeing of the patient if they aremisdiagnosed or given the wrong treatment plan to help them. People from black and minority ethnic groups livingin the UK are more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems, to beadmitted to hospital and to experience a poor outcome from treatment.
It isargued to be the case because often,psychologists and their patient often come from different cultural backgrounds, which makes it difficult for thepractitioner to know if what they are seeing is a symptom of a mental illnessor simply a different way of thinking, feeling or behaving linked to thepatient’s culture. This is why it is important for the health practitioner tolearn about their patients culture and consider the effects it has on thembefore making diagnosis. The psychologist needs to beaware of how the culture the person comes from has an affect on theirexperience of mental illness before making a diagnosis. In the unite for sight article about culturalperspective of metal health, Baley et al highlights how culture influences howpeople view mental illness, for example African Americans have negativeattitudes towards health care professionals which is effected by theirreligious beliefs, distrust of medical profession and communication barriers .Knowing the impact this has on patients will help health careprofessionals to better approach theirpatients and being able to have a better understanding of the origin of thepatients behaviour before making adiagnosis.
Health care professionsshould study the the social norms whichthe individual is coming from and avoid making judgments and comparison basedof European social norms. Another articles by Dr Lea on cultural difference inmental health , highlights the importance of taking into consideration thesocial norms of the individuals culture before making a diagnosis as this alsodiffers from culture to culture .A Recent immigrant to aEuropean country may seem abnormal and failing to function adequately, butcould just be facing the very different cultural landscape of their new home.Practitioners needs to have an understanding of these multicultural issues inorder to detect whether the problem is one that need treatment or adjustment. Must treatment systems aredeveloped in the West and cannot serve as a universal framework for allcultures because what is deemed as abnormal could be normal in a another..For example if an individualsaid they could hear the voices of their dead ancestors ,Whether they would beconsidered as mentally ill or not would depend on the country and culture theylived in .
The psychologist shouldavoid jumping to conclusions about the individual and what they believe toavoid offending them. Misunderstandings or ignorance may be seen as a lack ofrespect and lead to physical violence and other issues.Gender is another conceptwhich has an impact on people with mental health issues and theirsupport.The article on 7 reasons why depression is more common in women outlineshow gender influences the likeliness of men and women developing depression .It is essential forpractitioners to know how each sex is effected differently, in order toeffectively diagnose and help them individually. The treatment the individual receivescould be effected by whether they are male or female as the nature and effectof the mental illness may be different for each gender.Biological explanation fordepression explains why women are likely to develop mental illness.
This isbecause compared to men; women are more likely to develop depression based ontheir genetic makeup. Compared to men, women’shormones are more likely to rise and fall irregularly especially around thetime of childbirth and at menopause. Thisfluctuation in hormone levels is often associated with an increased risk ofdeveloping depression Cave s (2005). Depression is a chronicdisorder which has often been linked to symptoms relating to mental illness,which if not treated immediately could lead to a poor quality of life. This is because it has a significant effect on theindividuals social life and ability to socialise effectively with others.
Itcan also have an effect on theiremotions and ability to control it , and can often also effects them physically and mentally. Studies suggest that the interaction of boththe psychological and biological factors contribute to the progression ofdepression (Flanagan C et al ,2015). Psychological explanation of depressioncan occur as a result of prolonged exposure to countless negative life events whichbuilds up, until the personl is not able to cope anymore .For example working in anenvironment which is always stressful and demanding can often triggerdepression.
People who are depressed are often likely to believe that they can’tdo anything to help themselves and therefore suffer for long periods of timeoften without seeking the right help to support and help them. The majority ofpeople who are constantly working in stressful environments have a higher riskof developing depression (Cardwell,2009) .For example working in anoffice in a stressful environment can lead to depression due to the demandingnature of the work with heavy workloads and tight deadlines. This could thenmake the person feel that they have lack of control over they work and can’t domuch about it. This feeling of lack of control would them unhappy and theconstant feeling of this lack of control and increased of dissatisfaction wouldincrease the likeliness of being depression.According to the NationalInstitute of Mental Health around 5 percent of men reported that they hadexperienced depression in the past year.
However many have argued that thispercentage is not very accurate and should in fact be much more than thefindings suggest. A reason which may explain such a low percentage in thenumber of men admitting to experiencing depression could be due to the pressurewhich is put on men at work and at home to conform to the image of a macho manwho doesn’t show or talk about his feelings, unlike women who are often veryopen about how they feel , which is why they are often represented high asexperiencing mental illness. Men on the other hand oftenhide how they feel and choose not to talk about their mental issues.
From avery young age men have been taught to suppress any feeling such as sadness asit portrays them as weak. This means that even though depression is as commonamong men as in women, often many are not willing to open up about it , whichagain explains the low findings of men who admitted to being depressed . “Male depression sometimes manifests throughthe ‘male code’ that says you cannot show weakness, sadness, or vulnerability,”says Rabinowitz.This has a great impact ontheir mental health and the support they receive because instead seeking forhelp, men would tend to get angry at themselves and often throw themselves intoother things to avoid facing their mental issues, such spending more time ontheir work or developing negative habitssuch as drinking or smoking .They see thisway of coping as more socially acceptable rather then sitting down with a stranger and opening up abouttheir feelings to get rid of it. “That’swhy, in part, women are diagnosed with depression more than men,” saysRabinowitz. The University of Michigan did a research which surveyed more than 5,600 men and women . Theyused symptoms which were most common in men as the basis for depression diagnosis.
The result ofthe findings showed that 26 percent of men met the criteria of symptoms ofdepression compared to 22 percent of women. However when the traditionalsymptoms of depression were used , more women fit the criteria than men.This shows that gender hasan impact on mental issues and on the support which men and women get. Knowingthe effect gender has on individuals mental health can help practitioners provide better healthcare for each individual (Flanagan C et al ,2015).Stigma and discriminationalso have an impact on people with mental health issues and their support.Although they are manyoptions and help available for people facing mental issues many people often don’tseek for help due to the discrimination and stigma attached to mental illness,instead get worse and suffer in silence. This is evident in the findings suchas that of 2011,which showed that a low percentage of only 59.
6% of individualswith a mental illness reported receiving treatment.Stigma has a big influenceon the patient and the care they receive because the stigma associated withthose with mental illness can be used against them. The stigma associated withthose with mental illness can be used to exclude and marginalise thosesuffering from it. This type of treatment can have an effect on the mentalhealth of the individual by making it harder for them to live with their mentalissues and to seek help in the future. Stigma can also have an impact on the treatmentand the way health care practitioners support individuals seeking help , forexample if a health practitioner has a stigma that patients suffering from certainmental illness are more aggressive it may have an effect on the type oftreatment given to the patient. Stigma often also has an impact on those sufferingfrom mental illness as it can often prevent them from getting certain jobswhich they may be qualified to do , itcan further prevent people with mental health problems from playing an activerole in their community, which is the reason most people choose to not seek forhelp and instead try to deal with their mental issues through other means suchas over drinking instead of beinglabelled as mentally ill.People in society often havea stigma of people with mental health illness as being dangerous, aggressive, unpredictable,responsible for their illness, or incompetent to be a member of society andtake part in certain things.This can lead to active discrimination, such asexcluding people with these conditions from employment and social oreducational opportunities which they may actually be able to do.
In medicalsettings, negative stereotypes can also have an effect on the treatment givento patients. The displays ofdiscrimination as outlined above can become internalized, which means that theperson with the mental illness may begin to believe thenegative stereotypes and opinions of others and then start to believe that they will neverbe able to fully recover, that they are undeserving of care, dangerous, orresponsible for their illnesses. This can make them have very low self-esteemand make their mental illness worse .
Lastly lack of NHS fundingfor the mental health department as a whole also has an impact on people withmental health issues and their support.Aneurin Bevan formallylaunched the NHS on the 5th of July 1948. It was founded on three main principles that have shaped its development inthe last sixty years.
These principles are that it should meet the “needs ofeveryone”, be “free at the point of delivery” and be based on “clinical need,not ability to pay” . It came into place at a time when Britain saw health careas essential especially during post war reconstruction where many would sufferand die from minor and chronic diseases. Prior to the reforms, thepoor often went without medical treatment, relying instead on sometimesdangerous home remedies or on the charity of doctors who gave their servicesfree to their poorest patients.Although the NHS has beenenvied in the past by many and saidto be the best health system in theworld, With people now living on average at least 10 years longer than they didin 1948, many critics argue that Nevertheless, although the NHS had developed,transformed and improved the lives ofmany. Certain groups of individuals such as those with mental illness were neglected.This due to the NHS was focusing must ofits funds on physical illness. Bevan argued that the mentalhealth service had been neglected , thismay explain why mental health is currently the biggest burden on the NHS, asthe attention it deserved was not given from the beginning.Spending on mental health servicesis being cut in five regions of England, new figures have revealed – despiteGovernment pledges to “transform” the way mental health problems are dealtwith.Theresa May has promisedto tackle the”stigma” around mental health and NHS England said in Februarylast year an extra £1 billion a year should be invested in mental healthservices by 2021.But clinical commissioninggroups (CCGs) in Sefton, Scarborough, the Isle of Wight, St Helens and Walsallare set to reduce spending on mental health by £4.5m, according to Freedom ofInformation data obtained by Pulse magazine.