Mental health advocacy and awareness still needed


n today’s society, there is a stigma associated to those with psychosocial disorders that needs to be eradicated.

Throughout my experience working as a home health aide and support staff for various clients with a wide range of difficulties, I have come to find out that those with psychosocial disabilities tend to be looked down upon by a large portion of society, further hindering their development. Mental health literacy is a key component of advocating for those with disabilities, which is why promotion, prevention and the best available care are pivotal components for building community awareness.

Those with a psychosocial disability tend to fall into the cycle of further embodying traits that describe the disability. With proper knowledge, those in the community can help to support those who have psychosocial disabilities.

Per usual, one of the biggest issues confronting community mental health is a lack of funding. Mental health centers are understaffed and can’t seem to keep up with their large client load.

In one instance while working with a client, they had to wait over a month to see a community mental health psychiatrist. To be clear, that is an entire month without the necessary medication, and I saw an obvious negative effect on the individual’s well being because of it. Politicians are willing to talk about mental health issues but aren’t willing to allocate the proper amount of funding to address those who need help.

An organization that has recently been successful in treating those with psychosocial disabilities is Assertive Community Treatment (ACT). This model of care provides around-the-clock care for those with serious psychosocial disabilities and mental illnesses. The fields trained by ACT include occupational therapy, psychiatry, social work and nursing. The emphasis of ACT is to provide vocational rehabilitation, a strong suit of occupational therapy, and prevent a relapse in condition so these individuals have a stronger desire to succeed.

Those with serious psychosocial disabilities are three to five times more likely to be homeless or incarcerated than those in the general population. With treatment and mental health support, those with psychosocial disabilities can be integrated into society and become thriving members of the community rather than be looked down upon.

Mental health literacy and increased funding for mental health agencies will allow those with psychosocial disabilities to live out fulfilling lives and be successful in all of their occupations. At a minimum, it is important that we embrace these members of our community to help them obtain their maximum potential.