Free Psychology and Mental Health Essay Sample

Mental health is a unique and very sensitive aspect of health that requires a lot of understanding. Like most areas of health, mental illness is an issue that has existed from time in memorial. Mental health is also a universal issue that transcends all cultures and societies. Tackling of mental health has undergone various changes over the centuries. The treatment methods used are also very similar around the world. Therapy applied for a specific condition in Australia is likely to be the same used in the USA. Mental illness was not always viewed as a disease. Various societies tied it up with sorcery and supernatural phenomena. The mentally sick were often subjected to various forms of torture or unorthodox treatment. In some societies these people were isolated because they brought shame and embarrassment to their families. In Christian Europe the cause of madness was assumed to be a mixture of magic and the divine. The theory of the four humors was put in practice in the treatment of the mentally ill patients, because it was believed that an imbalance of the humors caused disease. The humors included yellow bile, blood, phlegm and black bile. As a result, bodily remedies that were used included bloodletting, whipping and forced purging (Thompson, 2006)

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There were other uncommon causes which people believed which included alcoholism and overworking. In most parts of the world especially modern Europe, mentally disturbed individuals were subject to witch hunts. On the other hand those who were judged insane were admitted to mental asylums or jails. Those who were deemed as dangerous or a threat to the safety of others were subject to forceful restraint to suppress their madness. The mentally ill were not treated as human beings; they were seen as wild animals. Treatment in the insane asylums was inhuman and barbaric. There was little emphasis on the environment in the asylums.

In this case, McMurphy is a confident, sexual, loud and dirty man. He represents self determination, sexuality and freedom. His insanity can be notified by his mode of laughing. McMurphy is too demanding to the nurses in the medical institution. His smoking also describes the first stage in Freud's theory. He is also very stubborn and hostile when it comes to obeying orders in the institution. He is always against the rules and influences the others to go against the orders. His ego is also very high and can be described as superego. McMurphy uses defense mechanism in lowering his ego. For example, when he discovered that Ratched has the authority to send him to electroshock treatment and keep him there as long as she want.

As a result of the significant steps made in medicine such as specialization and professionalization, there were considerable efforts to involve medics. However wrong the medics were they still made significant strides in the understanding of mental illness. However, some medics and asylum owners' resisted reforms which were against the brutal regimes. Medics were also faulted for taking up administrative roles and rarely attending to the patients except for physical cases. This was probably due to the lucrative nature of the mad houses. Various groups doubted the success of the treatments that were applied in the asylums especially moral treatment. Many people started having the view that madness was as a result of physical or organic problems. These arguments have been described as important steps in the profession's success in the treatment in mental illness.

According to Freud's theory, signs of mental illness influences the behavior of the people affected in their childhood. New methods and understandings of the matter were unveiled. Psychoanalysis is a good example of these developments. This brought about better understanding and separation of mood disorders from schizophrenia. Major changes graced the asylums, most were now referred to as hospitals and the 'mad people' were now called patients. The asylum administrators now strived to improve the image of the institution and its medical status. However, there were even greater challenges with the various wars that took place. The mentally ill were victims of sterilization. Sterilization was a process that involved the elimination of people who were not viewed as useful in the society or a group that was deemed inferior. In countries like Nazi Germany, the mentally ill who were institutionalized were the earliest victims of sterilization. Psychiatrists and asylum workers were at the centre of the planning despite the fact that they were not asked to formally take part. War also caused increased focus on soldiers' mental health and this brought about developments in treatment.

A diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM) was founded and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) created a section for mental diseases. In the late sixties there was an anti psychiatry wave all over especially the west. There was opposition to the isolation related to the institutionalization. Community based mental health services were preferred and deinstitutionalization become very popular. Psychiatry medication became common until dependence curtailed its popularity. New forms of therapy have developed after new methods were unveiled in the fields of genetic and neuroscience research. Cognitive therapy is an example among other emerging methods of treating mental illness (Leeds, 2008).  

Developments in psychiatry and neuroscience have enabled the specialization of mental health treatment. The various approaches and interventions in mental health greatly depend on the disorder and the symptoms at hand. Care systems in mental health need to be set up on a continuum basis whereby care starts from the initial contact with the patient in outpatient. Mental care should then continue on a long term basis to attend to the patients' illness in the future. Mental health has in the past been neglected in terms of funding. It is important for the government and other stakeholders to cooperate with care givers when dealing with mental health. It is unfortunate that during the economic hardship there is a tendency to cut off funding for mental health programs with little consideration of the adverse effects. It is important to realize that mental health interventions are not only medical or financial, but can also be found in the community. It is therefore very beneficial to learn the resources that are available in the community (Foucault, 2007).

Intensive outpatient therapy is an intervention method that has been tried in many countries including Australia. Patients can spend time in a facility during the day as they undergo various forms of therapy and then go home at night. This daytime treatment is a form of intensive outpatient therapy. The daytime therapy can also include family therapy to assist the family in dealing with the mental disorder of their loved one. This type of therapy has also been applied in other cases like rehabilitation for drug addicts. Families are shown how to offer support and also how to deal with the psychological turmoil themselves. These programs are not as long as inpatient treatment, they normally last two to three weeks. This particular program is very suitable for patients who have a hard time adjusting to mental facilities. Residential treatment is a form of long term care that is usually a last result after all other forms of therapy have failed. The length of the treatment varies between three months and a year. Mental health is a sensitive issue and therefore requires evidence based practices to achieve results. It is evident that McMurphy is suffering from mental illness. He has all the descriptions that are stated by Freud in his psychoanalysis.


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