What constitutes a mental health problem?

. However, such numbers depend on how mental health is understood and measured.

Co-researcher Dr Jeremy Dixon from the Department of Policy & Social Sciences and the University of Bath’s Center for Social Policy Analysis explains: “Uncertainty about what constitutes a mental health problem has become more apparent in recent decades due to an increase in the number of mental health conditions identified in manuals for general practitioners and psychiatrists”.

Mental health problems are often presented as something understood by medicine and psychiatry. However, there is still debate about what exactly mental health problems are and how they should be treated.

They can influence decisions about who can get mental health services and how behaviors such as aggression are explained.

By examining more than 100 publications that address mental health or mental illness in some way, researchers from the University of Bath (UK) and Bern University of Applied Sciences (Switzerland) have determined about 34 different theoretical models have been identified.

These models are used by practitioners, researchers, and users of mental health services to understand the nature of mental health problems.

More importantly, they found no criteria that could be used to prioritize why one model might be used over another. This is important because the way mental health issues are understood has a lasting effect on how people with mental health problems are assessed and supported.

These models range from biological, psychological, and sociological models, to those informed by consumer and cultural considerations.

Whereas in the past, policymakers and practitioners have attempted to forge consensus on the use of the so-called ‘psycho-socio-biological model’ – a synthetic term, based on on elements of all the different models – this consensus seems to be fractured.

With a variety of models used by practitioners, Researchers are now calling for greater clarity on how different and potentially contractual mental health models can be used in practice..

Mental health services need to recognize the many views that service users currently hold. Instead of asking service users to adopt a biological or psychological perspective, mental health professionals need to understand and work with people’s preferences.

Source: Medindia

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