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Mental Health in the Community

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Availability and Resources of Therapists and

The Community Stigma of Mental Health

Kristie Worden

ENG122: English Composition II

Instructor Heather Peerboom

October 28, 2018

Availability and Resources of Therapists and

                               The Community Stigma of Mental Health

There are many issues within the community that stems from mental health issues.  If a mental disorder remains untreated, it can lead to worsening of the psychological problem; associated physical symptoms; a decrease in the quality of any personal relationships; inability to maintain a job; homelessness; an increase in risks for accidents; substance abuse; or the potential for suicide (Desert Hope Treatment, 2018).  In the community I live in, Carlsbad, New Mexico, there is an approximate population slightly over 56,000 people.  However, the City Commissioner Steve McCutcheon and the Executive Director of the Carlsbad Department of Development John Waters both agree that this number is lower than independent findings they jointly conducted.  The estimated population for 2018 is closer to 72,000 (Booth, 2018).  Of our population, 18.6% of individuals have reported one week or more of poor mental health.  The community of Carlsbad has a ration of 820 people per 1 Psychiatrist/Therapist.  The ranking is from surveys conducted on patients who have admitted to having a mental health illness, and who seek treatment.  The study does not cover the number of people who do not seek assistance (, 2018).  Mental health is tied in with each person's overall health; physical, emotional, and environmental.  The general population has a stigma surrounding mental health disorders, where people within the community see people suffering from mental disorders as “dangerous, unpredictable.”  There is a need for more Therapists in the community who are willing to work outside the normal boundaries of business hours; who will not only work with patients, but loved ones, family, friends, loved ones, and employers to provide education and a support network.

        Each person requires basic needs to be healthy overall according to “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.”  The first two needs are something each person requires as soon as they are born.  These needs are at their most basic: biological and physiological which are air, food, drink, shelter; safety needs which include security, order, and stability.  As each person progresses through life, their needs continue to grow.  The need to belong and be loved.  Esteem, which includes self-esteem and respect from peers.  Cognitive needs are the knowledge that is gained as a person grows and walks through life’s different experiences.  The emotion or soul requires a need for transcendence, whether it based on religion, mystical experiences, or another pursuit of a higher power (McLeod, 2018).  If a mental health issue has not addressed, the system of needs breaks down.  The person struggles to maintain social contact with loved ones and friends.  They may lose their employment, a loss of income, thus losing their home or shelter.  The person may turn to alcohol or illegal substances to cope with life.  Each area interacts and impacts every aspect of not only the person suffering; it affects the family, the loss of friends.  The person’s loss of their sense of self and the loss of their physical and worsening of their mental health.  Each loss compounds the problem and struggle.  

Many people struggle with mental health conditions.  In the DSM-5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, there are over 300 different types of mental health conditions.  The spectrum of conditions ranges from various forms of depression; bipolar disorders; anxiety; psychotic disorders that cover disorders such as schizophrenia, delusional disorders, schizoaffective disorder, other disorders that are similar to schizophrenia, and Borderline Personality Disorder (Psych Guides Disorders, n.d.)  Anyone who has a mental disorder may show apparent signs; others may not.  

The stigma from society surrounding mental health disorders includes stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination.  There are people in our community who categorize some conditions such as schizophrenia, alcoholism, and drug dependence as being especially dangerous.  These same people believe eating disorders and substance abuse are self-inflicted; and that people with mental health problems are generally hard to talk to (Davey, 2011)   These stigmas from others can then turn to a self-stigma on the clients’ end.  The client believes what others say about having poor mental health.  There is a loss of what self-esteem and self-efficacy.  Clients’ may also feel a stigma within the healthcare system; poor quality of care from Therapists or Physicians who are treating physical or mental conditions can act as a barrier to seeking help by the patient.  The patient may cease treatment prematurely, or delay treatment due to the belief in the stigma.  The fear of having a label placed on them plays into their fears of discrimination (Mehta, 2015).  Without effective treatment, the patient and their needs begin to break down, and the condition worsens.

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