Mental Health Models

Updated May 17, 2021

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Mental Health Models essay

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Mental health is a state of performance of mental functioning, subsequent in fulfillment of relationships, productive activities, and the resilience to adapt and cope with challenges (Malla, Joober, & Garcia, 2015). Effective mental health is essential to an individual’s well-being, interpersonal relationships, and the ability to contribute to society successfully. Mental illness refers to diagnosable mental disorders caused by the onset of alterations in mood, thinking, emotions, and behaviors linked with distress and impaired functioning (Davidson, Campbell, Shannon, & Mulholland 2016).

Mental illness, at some point, has impacted our lives, as one in four humans in the world will be affected by a mental disorder sometime in their lives (“World Health Organization,” 2019). By addressing mental illness, theoretical models are needed to investigate the causes of, diagnose, and understand the complex issues to explain and treating mental illnesses. Will a single mental health model prove sufficient for understanding mental illness, or would multiple models be necessary? Of the four mental health models introduced in this week’s lesson, this writer favors the integrated model as a highly beneficial approach in today’s therapy. However, this writer views each model of the mental health approach shares the same goal to improve mental health by ensuring access to appropriate, quality mental health treatment.

Mental illness is not a personal failure; if there is a failure, it can be found in the way we have responded to people with mental and brain disorders lives (“World Health Organization,” 2019). The integrated model of mental health conceptualizes prime importance in understanding mental disorders. The integration of previous mental illness models implies biological, psychological, and social factors are cohorts in the etiology of mental disease, emerging into the biopsychosocial model in 1977 (Davidson, Campbell, Shannon, & Mulholland 2016).

George L. Engel was an American internist and psychiatrist, believing that to comprehend and respond satisfactorily to individual suffering, professionals must treat consecutively to the biological, psychological, and social elements of mental illness (Borell-Carrio, Suchman & Epstein, 2004). Engel proposed a holistic alternative to the dominant biomedical model, therefore in 1977, emerging the multifaceted thinking of the biopsychosocial model. Engel’s intentions for the biopsychosocial model were to develop a blueprint for research, a structure for teaching, and a design for action in the real world of mental illness (Engel, 1977). Engel formulated the biopsychosocial model as a dynamic, interactional, but dualistic view of human experience in which there is a mutual connection influencing the mind and body (Ghaemi, 2009).

The model examines a continuum of influences that begins with the environment and encompasses society, culture, family, and the individual. Then the model studies the impacts on all the systems that make up the human body. The biopsychosocial model is commonly used in treating chronic illnesses such as cancer (Purdy, 2019). A group of medical professionals develops a patient-centered care approach based on the framework of the biopsychosocial model developing a study of chronically sick patients. In a 2010 study, Elizabeth R. Purdy found that African Americans recuperated at a slower rate from cancer than Caucasians and received not as good health outcomes (Purdy, 2019). In this study, Purdy noted the biopsychosocial model is considerably more effective than conventional methods in treating such illnesses because it takes biological predispositions, psychological stressors, socioeconomic factors, and physiological characteristics.

Assuming greater access to a healthcare system by Caucasians improved outcomes, African Americans conveyed more optimism about their health. The fact that researchers hypothesized linked to higher levels of ethnic identity through a patient-centered approach. George L. Engel’s emphasis on human experience held over time as it continued to be fundamental to successful treatment outcomes.

Purdy’s study found that patient-centered interaction was effective in improving recovery time, mental health, and reduced the need for follow-up medical treatment (Purdy, 2019).

Proponents of the biopsychosocial model may propose theoretical and empirical philosophy of more is better (Ghaemi, 2009). Advantages of the new perspective biopsychosocial model allow clinical providers to utilize models previously researched and apply the best elements to every aspect of human lives to treat mental illness (Borell-Carrio, Suchman & Epstein, 2004). Biological influences on mental health vary, including genetics, physical trauma, toxins, or infections. The psychological model investigates psychological justifications for health concerns, such as negative thinking, emotional distress, or lack of self-control.

Social and cultural factors theorized as a specific set of stressful occurrences that can differentially impact a person’s mental health.

The biopsychosocial model connects human genetic makeup, psychological health, and cultural environment influences to support a sense of self-awareness and understand human health as a whole entity (Davidson, Campbell, Shannon, & Mulholland 2016).

Furthermore, researchers of this model have proposed that spiritual constructs also affect an individual’s susceptibility to diseases and illness (Jenkins, 2020).

An illustration of the advantages of the biopsychosocial approach can be applied to understand a variety of health behaviors, such as understanding the behavior of extreme drinking.

The genetic predisposition for an addiction to alcohol may cause an individual to drink excessively. An individual may use alcohol as a coping mechanism while struggling with negative emotions, while another is prone to drinking heavily with friends. The psychosocial aspects can cause a biological consequence by predisposing the individual to risk factors. The illustration shows that depression on its own may not cause liver problems, but a depressed person is more likely to have excessive alcohol use, which is probable to liver damage. The Biopsychosocial approach can also be used in understanding what determines healthy behaviors (Gurung, 2014).

Implicit in such suggestions that ‘more is better,’ the biopsychosocial model remains a work in progress (Jenkins, 2020). The biopsychosocial model suggested with confidence as a sustainable and much looked-for alternative to the dominant medical model (Carey, Mansell, & Tai, 2014). Even though the response of the importance of how biological, psychological, and social factors contribute to the full understanding of human life and its challenges, there is the awareness that the biopsychosocial mental health model has substantial limitations. Carey, Mansell, and Tai (2014) described the critics’ perspective of the biopsychosocial model based on a falsely narrow concept of biological, psychological, and social elements. In contrast, the early twentieth century did not witness an apparent dichotomy between psychodynamic and biological stances.

Thus there may be no single definitive model published; acceptance of Engel’s novelty integrated model varies across cultures. Understanding the biological component of the integrated model, thinkers seek to know how the cause of illness stems from the functioning of the human body as the model assumes that all mental illnesses are, in fact, biopsychosocial (Suls & Rothman, 2004). According to Suls and Rothman (2004), experts see the assumption that behaviors are related to a disease lessens the credibility of the field of psychiatry.

Abnormal behavior with no biological factors to induce it, such as anti-social behavior, is not treated as a medical disorder. Compared to a medical condition impacting brain chemistry like schizophrenia, it should not be classified on the same level of mental illness. The assumption that biopsychosocial applies to every disease has led critics to believe this increases the stigma of mental health disorders, in its place of reducing it (Suls & Rothman, 2004).

In conclusion, the integrated model is also a technical term for the popular concept of the mind-body connection, which reports a philosophical influence between the biopsychosocial and biomedical models, rather than their empirical study and clinical claim. George L. Engel’s commitment to an integrative theoretical perspective in mental health is evident in Engel’s original writings on the biopsychosocial model (Benning, 2015). The biopsychosocial model’s influence on modern psychiatry has been significant, as the viewpoint also challenges the stigma of mental illness. The theory’s multi-factorial advantages create the possibility of an approach to mental health problems, which could be both scientific and humanistic. Philosophical coherence enables people to recognize that anyone can have a mental illness as all humans have biological, psychological, and social influencers in their lives (Borell-Carrio, Suchman & Epstein, 2004). Good health is not just the nonexistence of life-threatening illnesses, but a position of the whole physical, mental, and social wellbeing (World Health Organization, 2019).

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