Mental health care is a primary concern to social workers, who are the main providers of care to populations with mental health diagnoses. The system that provides services to individuals with mental health issues is often criticized for being reactive and only responding when individuals are in crisis. Crisis response is not designed to provide on-going care and is frequently very expensive, especially if hospitalization is involved.
Critics suggest a comprehensive plan, which involves preventive services, as well as a continuum of care. However, there are few, if any, effective and efficient program models. Social work expertise and input are vital to implementing effective services. Targeting services to individuals with a diagnosis of mental illness is one strategy. Another approach includes providing an array of services that are also preventative in nature. How might these suggestions address potential policy gaps in caring for individuals such as the family members in the Parker Family case?
For this Discussion, review this week’s resources, including the Parker Family video. Then consider the specific challenges or gaps in caring for individuals with a chronic mental illness might present for the mental health system based on the Parker case. Finally, think about how environmental stressors, such as poverty, can aggravate mental illness and make treatment more challenging.
Parker Family Episode 5 Program Transcript
FEMALE SPEAKER: So you’ve been hospitalized, let’s see, four times altogether. FEMALE SPEAKER: Well actually, I should have only been in the hospital three times. FEMALE SPEAKER: Why do you say that? FEMALE SPEAKER: Well, on the third hospital visit they kicked me out before I was ready to leave. They said I was just in there to get away from my mom, but I told them they were wrong. My sister even backed me up on this. But they didn’t care. They just checked me out, and home sweet home I went. I was barely gone like a month and I was back in their monkey house. So technically, for me, hospital visits three and four are the same. I remember going back to that hospital seeing the same docs and nurses, and I just smiled and waved and said, see, I told you so. I mean, we picked up right where we left off. FEMALE SPEAKER: What do you mean your sister backed you up? FEMALE SPEAKER: Jane, that’s my sister. Jane, she knew how crazy my mom is, so she took pictures of all that mess and all that junk my mom hoards, and she showed them to the social worker in the hospital. FEMALE SPEAKER: What happened? FEMALE SPEAKER: You know what the social worker said? She said that there was nothing that she can do about it, that her job was to only make sure that patients have a place to go when they leave the hospital. Translation, when you’re out the door, good riddance and good luck. Some policy, huh?
Post an explanation of the specific challenges or gaps in the mental health care system for the care of individuals with chronic mental illnesses. Base your response on the Parker case. Then, describe how environmental stressors, such as poverty, can aggravate mental illness and make treatment more challenging.