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Mental Health Issues of American Adult Population

Mental Health in the Community

More than 18.5% of the American adult population experiences a mental illness in a given year of their life (Blackwell, Lucas, and Clarke, 2012). When people's minds do not function or coordinate properly, every part of the body is affected. This happens because the brains coordinate all functions of the human body. When there is a problem with the way that people respond to a certain psychological issue confronting them, then there is a mental health disorder having an impact on the correct operation of the whole organism.


Therefore, mental health is defined as the emotional and psychological wellbeing of a person. Mental health in the community is the decentralized pattern of mental health health care provided to tackle the problem, and the other services for the individuals who are suffering from mental health issues (Caplan, 2013). In the community of the United States, the problem has contributed immensely to the mental well-being of American society.

Luckily, nowadays, many people have been able to access mental health care within the communities that they live in and no longer have to live confined in underfunded psychological health institutions. This paper aims to discuss the issue of mental health, the history of its treatment in the United States of America, as well as conceptual and theoretical frameworks for psychiatric-mental health nursing.

Mental health in the community has a long history in the United States. Before the 1840s, people suffering from mental illnesses lived under inhumane conditions. Most of the patients lived in a dangerous and unhealthy living environment. Starting from 1840, Dorothea Dix, who was a renowned activist-initiated talk with the government, and eventually persuaded it to establish 32 mental health hospitals. This changed the treatment for and society’s perception of mental health patients forever.

At that time, the initial patient care model, where many patients lived in hospitals, under the supervision of professionals was the most efficient way of caring for the mentally ill. Furthermore, most families and communities that were caring for mentally ill people welcomed the idea as little was known about the proper approaches to taking care of such patients in domestic conditions (Novella, 2008).

However, the government poorly funded the mental health institutions, leading to the slow but steady deterioration of living conditions in the facilities, as they were understaffed and poorly run. In the 1950s, several reports of the inappropriate living conditions and human rights violations in the institutions emerged, drawing a lot of criticism from the public and the civil society. Consequently, many people vouched for the deinstitutionalization and outpatient treatment of the sick, partly facilitated by the development of better antipsychotic drugs.

By 1963, the government had closed down the state-run psychotic hospitals, because of a change in the laws governing mental health. The regulations stipulated that public mental institutions could only cater to the patients who were a threat to society or themselves. The other ill people which did not fall under this category were moved from psychiatric hospitals and treated at local mental health homes or related facilities, marking a new era in mental health care (Novella, 2008).

Any healthcare issue requires a particular set of thoroughly planned preventative and treatment activities targeted at ensuring the physiological or psychological welfare of a person. Conceptual and theoretical frameworks for psychiatric-mental health nursing are the frameworks of similar or related concepts applied by practitioners when treating mentally sick patients. The specialists in this field use the frameworks to address an individuals' behavior and to employ direct analytical, consultative or medical interventions. Most mental health professionals apply more than one approach from different frameworks or models.

Concepts Used by a Mental Health Specialist

One of the concepts used by a mental health specialist today is the Psychoanalytic Model. The treatment obtained from this model is referred to as psychoanalysis. The Levels of Consciousness is a fundamental concept in the model. Under the levels of consciousness, the developer of the theory, Sigmund Freud presupposes the division into three levels. The first level of consciousness is a conscious mind. This part of the mind is aware of what is happening in the present, and only functions when one is awake.

The second consciousness level is the preconscious one. The subconscious part of the brain stores thoughts, sensations, and feelings. Despite the materials stored in the preconscious mind being outside of awareness, they can be brought to the conscious state when a particular stimulus, such as a direct question is applied. The third level is the unconscious one. This level represents the largest part of the mind (Freud, 1920). Furthermore, thoughts, sensations, and feelings are stored there. People are rarely aware of the unconscious mind unless it demonstrates its existence through dreams, tongue's slips, or memory lapses (Taylor, 1994).

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Another conceptual framework applied by mental health practitioners is the Interpersonal Model developed by Harry Sullivan. He believed that the most important factor in people's personality development is the person's relationship with significant others. In this model, the assumption is that the need for communication, satisfaction, and security drives all human beings’ actions and behaviors. The necessity of satisfaction arises from an individual's biological need for basic needs.

Likewise, the need for security arises from the individuals' needs but this emotional, for feeling states such as status, self-esteem, and interpersonal intimacy. When the stated needs are perceived, tensions arise internally, and a person employs various methods to meet them, thus reducing the pressure. He referred to the methods that an individual applies to relieve the tension as dynamisms (Evans, 2006).

Mental Healthcare System

Conclusively, the mental healthcare system has experienced immense changes from its roots and by now. Before the 1950s, psychologically ill people lived under terrible conditions in the state-run psychiatric facilities. In 1963, the rational legislation was passed, in which the institutionalization of patients who posed no threat to the general public or themselves was banned. The government closed down the institutions, and mental health patients went to either community health centers or back home to be cared for by their families. Additionally, the developments in psychological health treatment concepts and frameworks, as well as the advancements in pharmacology, have contributed to the improvement of mental health in the community.

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