Mental Health Services

Fortunately, mental health services throughout the United States have changed to reflect a more person centered approach to care. At one time, mental health care was physician directed, and the patient or consumer had little or no control over their treatment program. Treatment plans involving lengthy hospital stays interrupted people's lives. Mental illness is not very well understood by much of the population. Theories concerning diagnosis and mental health services continue to vary greatly. Diagnosis depends largely on who is interpreting the DSM and on a person's individual symptoms and circumstances. Although there is more agreement on what treatments work, mental health services still vary widely from state to state. Empowering the client or patient to take part in his or her treatment seems to be the direction the industry is heading. Unfortunately, there is still stigma attached to psychiatric illness, which can stifle progress if not dealt with appropriately. Stigma is often considered a mark of shame. But the term refers back to Christ. Stigmata are identifying bodily marks or characteristics resembling the wounds of the crucified Jesus Christ.

Psychiatric illness is not a mark of shame. However, the illness does produce a great deal of suffering for the individual who receives mental health services. Many people fear what they don't understand. Other people simply like to ridicule and harass people who are different from them or who have special needs. Keep in mind that Jesus Christ suffered greatly. And Christians have suffered from the earliest followers to the present day. All Christians must remain strong in faith and read the advice given to Timothy. "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things." (2 Timothy 2: 1-7) The Lord helps people understand and ultimately empowers individuals to understand their own situation and take action on their own behalf.

A segment of the population believes that mental illness is nothing more than a convenient excuse for malingering and that money spent on psychiatric rehabilitation programs would be better spent elsewhere. Malingering may in fact be a problem. People do use some times use their illness to get out of work or to collect social security. Every system has been abused. But mental health services are a useful part of society. There are people who legitimately need public assistance to simply live. Service providers can be found in both the private and government sectors. Some states have what is called a community mental health system. Services are provided on a sliding scale basis. Consumers or clients of these services are charged a fee based on what they can pay. Each CMH system is maintained differently, but the core services are basically the same: access center, case management, crisis stabilization, and crisis support.

All mental health services have a common goal, which is to treat individuals quickly and assimilate them back into society as quickly as possible. Many programs offer substance abuse counseling, employee assistance programs, and day treatment. Access centers evaluate an individual's needs and then link them to the appropriate services. That may include setting up an appointment with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other professionals trained to help. During the assessment, an individual will be assigned a case manager. The case manager, a social worker, will provide support and guidance to the client and act as a coordinator of the health programs. In all probability, the client will see the case manager more than any other service provider. In some states the case manager will assist the client in completing a Person Centered Plan. The PCP is designed to get clients more involved in their treatment program. Basically, the PCP develops treatment and personal goals. Periodically the case manager and client review the Person Centered Plan to ensure adequate treatment progress is being made. Crisis stabilization offers brief intensive inpatient treatment. The goal is to provide treatment and get the person out of the hospital as quickly as possible.

Some mental health services offer what are called psychosocial rehabilitation clubhouses. These clubhouses are designed to be consumer run. Although clubhouses employee full-time professional staff, they cannot function without the work of the clients. Preparing meals, administrative functions, cleaning and light maintenance, social activities are all done by the clients. Transportation is often provided to and from the clubhouse. Larger clubhouses offer employee assistance programs. Employee specialists essentially enter into agreements with local businesses to provide a specified amount of labor each week. Employees of mental health providers offer many services. In addition to the obvious programs, workers are often called upon to help clients with the social security or Medicaid systems. Also, medications are a significant part of most treatment plans. Unfortunately, many people cannot afford the cost of psychotropic medications. But mental health services can help clients obtain needed medications. Most pharmaceutical companies offer short-term prescription assistance. If a doctor writes a prescription, and a person is financially unable to pay for them, the manufacturer will provide a limited supply at no cost.

Improve Mental Health

Mental health counseling focuses on helping society to acquire assessment and treatment as needed for a large variety of concerns. Some areas of expertise include depression, drug and alcohol abuse, family and group counseling, lifestyle and career development, psychological testing and diagnosis, among others. Professionals work with individuals and groups to improve mental health by assessing, diagnosing, and treating. Fast-paced busy lifestyles don't usually allow for personal evaluation and time needed for addressing important issues and healing when needed. This leaves the people of that society in a state where the book is never closed on certain issues and healing cannot take place in situations that call for closure.

Have you ever heard a parent or a friend say, "I just don't have time to think about that right now?" Every human being has a need for a certain amount of closure and resolution. Individuals living in a fast-paced society are so busy that they may not realize the importance of their own mental health. Mental health counseling will help individuals understand how the human mind works. Things happen and most people go on with their lives, sometimes pushing the thoughts aside to address later. Do these unresolved issues ever resurface? Most certainly because our sub-conscious mind keeps a record of things that are significant which haven't found closure. One person who seems angry all the time may be experiencing anger from something that happened to them many years before but was never addressed or resolved so the anger never went away.

Relaxation techniques are popular notions that many read about but don't take the time to practice. To improve mental health a person must take some time out from the fast life and rest. Many find this type of rest in worshiping God. Taking the time to talk with God, fellowship with other believers, and prayer allows the mind to stop and contemplate on unanswered questions or issues. God's word answers our questions and the fellowship with Him gives us peace and rest. Someone who goes to church regularly will often say that it makes a difference in the way the following week goes. Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matthew 11:29). Learning about Jesus can bring rest to the mind, body, and spirit.

Anxiety and depression are two very common ailments of those living in a culture that doesn't take time for contemplation. Many physicians treat patients for anxiety and depression by prescribing anti-depressants. Mental health counseling may resort to prescribing medication to help the patient to cope but also offers a plan that addresses the root of the problem. This type of plan works towards a successful and complete recovery over just trying to fix the problem with chemicals. To improve mental health it is vital to have a proper diagnosis along with a plan for treatment that leads to complete healing. A quick fix is what most people are looking for and anti-depressants may be able to offer that but the human mind needs closure and resolve to properly heal. In some cases a person may be suffering from a chemical imbalance in the brain. With this kind of issue medication is the best answer because it restores the imbalance.

Some of the other pressing mental issues people experience are eating disorders, abuse, sleeping disorders, trauma, compulsive disorders, attention deficit disorders, anger, grief, and chronic pain. Technology has made it easier to get help for these types of problems by consulting with psychologists through mental health counseling on the Internet. It is possible to schedule a consultation online and acquire help needed to improve mental health. Some sites offer products that help to deal with the stresses of everyday life, including relaxation techniques. There are also resources online for finding a qualified therapist by location as well as information through articles and press releases that might prove helpful. The technology of the Internet has brought many answers to those in need right where they are, in their homes, or at the office. A society that uses this technology will acquire more knowledge and find multiple resources for answers to many questions.

Keeping physically fit is an excellent way to experience a boost in mental alertness. Eating a balanced diet along with the right amount of exercise can dramatically improve mental health. Exercise the mind by reading, working crossword puzzles, or by having a conversation with another person. Don't forget about spiritual health that is attained through reading God's word, fellowship with other Christians and participating in worship services, and prayer. Retrain the mind to see that the glass is half full instead of half empty. Practice positive thinking and speaking and read God's word often to renew the mind. Don't participate in negative behavior by not allowing the negative thought to be spoken. Don't be afraid or too busy to ask for help especially when it results in negative behavior or is detrimental to health.

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