Mental Health Nursing Essay

Philosophies of Mental Health Care


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Philosophies of Mental Health

Mental health incorporates an elaborate and extensive field that requires critical care and concern to realise efficiency and success in the overall wellbeing of an individual. Mental health wellness has increasingly gained prominence to ensure achievement of effective measures towards realisation of improved mental health care. The central philosophical concern pertaining to mental illness does not entail the existence, but rather involves its actual definition (Szmukler 2008). Further, the concern involves whether the aspect of mental health can be given scientific or objective definition or else, a normative and subjective elements that are essential to the concept of mental illness. The need to understand mental health is traced to the need of having concise and critical treatment plans that will greatly ensure mental patients acquire the best medication and care (Stickley and Wright 2014). Further, full recovery involves having a clear understanding of the disorder per se, and thus, devising the best treatment and care plan from the concepts and evidence-based practices held by a health practitioner. This essay critically looks into the various aspects involving the philosophies of mental health with a view to understanding the concepts aiding in effective health and wellbeing.

Philosophy is a branch of knowledge that is crucial in aiding with thinking clearly to come up with solutions in respect to prevailing challenges. The need for well-defined concepts and attributes surrounding the aspect of mental health and wellness is imperative hence the need for understanding the philosophies of mental health (Radden 2004). From a critical point of view, mental health and illnesses that affect an individual are a myth that cannot be assessed and comprehended easily. Thus, the need for critical measures to evaluate and comprehend the various attributes surrounding the concepts in mental health and wellbeing. According to Seedhouse (1999), the philosophy of mental health involves an interdisciplinary field of study that combines views and methods from the philosophy of mind, neuroscience, psychology and moral philosophy in order to outline and analyse the nature of mental disorder. Philosophy in mental illness involves evaluating the ontological, normative and epistemological issues arising from varying conceptions of mental illness (Joseph et al. 2009). The study of mental wellness commonly referred to as psychiatry is a unique discipline among the medical practitioners, and ensures incorporation of key concepts and categories that are not only difficult, but also are difficult to define. The nature of mental health raises many conceptual questions as well as empirical ones (Fulford, Stanghellii and Broome 2004). This brings the need to have concerted studies looking into in depth philosophies of mental health to have a clear perspective of the disorders and how to effectively address the treatment and care processes. Philosophy of mental health involves a continuously growing field with contributions from philosophers, clinicians like psychiatrists and mental health nurses, as well as mental health users (Ahmedani 2011).

Mental health wellbeing consists of a complex and dynamic aspect that greatly requires critical and concerted efforts to evaluate how to address the various case studies. There is a strong need for understanding the connection between mental health and mental illness by embracing the philosophical ideas of the mental health and care. Radden (2004) critically articulates the central concept in respect to philosophical questions in respect to any existing interrogation of the concept surrounding mental disorder. Radden states that:

Conceptions of rationality, personhood and autonomy, the preeminent philosophical ideas and ideals grounding modern-day liberal and humanistic societies like ours also frame our understanding of mental disorder and rationales for its social, clinical and legal treatment. (2004: 3)

Whenever professionals or individuals think about queries surrounding the meaning of mental distress experience, a confrontation on a range of philosophical questions arises (Fulford, Stanghellii and Broome 2004). In context, the questions surround the personal identity aspect, ownership of thoughts and experiences, as well as the nature of the self and its relationship to the subjects in the world. These questions bring about a clear comprehension on the context of mental illness and subsequently label them in various categories as diseases. The major attribute of philosophical aspects of mental illnesses involves understanding the biological underpinnings of the same with respect to the mind and brain (Radden 2004). Further, the philosophical aspect also tries to understand the justification of detaining and treatment mental patients irrespective of their consent. This gives a crystal clear analysis of the best options to be devised to address mental disorders and how to effectively avail treatment and care measures.

In the field of health and wellbeing, it is common to get the question “what is mental disorder? This enhances the pursuit of having a clear understanding of the attributes surrounding wellbeing of people and subsequently raises the concern of linking the clinicians to various models to address various cases (Parnas, Sass and Zahavi 2008). Philosophy is critical in linking mental health practitioners with relevant health models, as well as evidence based practices as scientific tools to achieve mental wellbeing. Bolton (2008) critically addresses the concept of what mental disorder is from a philosopher, clinical psychologist and researcher point of view. By critically assessing the assumptions underlying the diagnostic manuals which incorporate recent critiques on mental health and wellbeing, Bolton clearly evaluates the aspect of bio-behavioural sciences and their contributions to the phenomena. Mental disorders are identified as natural facts that humans have to embrace and cope to live with (Cox 2008). The social aspect of mental disorder is rather sensitive and complex due to the stringent attributes associated with uncertainties surrounding the diagnostics of mental disorders. Further, care and treatment of mental ailments involves medicalization of everyday distress and the dynamics of curbing severe cases of mental disorders.

Philosophy of mental health also referred to as the new philosophy of psychiatry is rapidly developing with inclusion by philosophers, clinicians like the psychiatrics and mental health nurses together with mental health service users (Radden 2004). The main characteristic of philosophy involves threefold investigation into queries of existence, knowledge and ethics. In context, philosophy of mental health can be characterised by an enquiry into the various queries of existence, knowledge and ethics as they relate and apply to mental health care (Thornton 2007). Generally, any philosophy of mental health ought to be oriented around practice and become a philosophy of mental health care. The following outlines four areas of mental health philosophy: first is the question of human consciousness and especially the relationship between mind and brain (Thorton 2007). This area entails the way of characterising the fundamental nature of the human consciousness and the relationship that exist between conceptions of the human mind or psyche as well as it biological underpinning in regard to neurological processes in the brain. In context, the area tries to establish the veracity of how to reduce experiences attributed to a person to neurochemical reactions in the brain, or are these fundamentally different levels of explanation (Stickley and Wright 2014).

The second area of philosophy involves the question of mental illness as a disease whereby classification of mental distress as form of disease is outlined (Thorton 2007). The connection existing between the philosophical issues surrounding the study and treatment of mental illness and the other areas of philosophy can be outlined in various cases. The mental attribute of an individual determines their cognitive and behavioural abilities; hence, any illness or disorder affecting the mental wellbeing of an individual distracts every aspect of the individual’s life (Fulford, Sanghelli and Broome 2004). The philosophical investigation with regard to mental illness is relevant to many areas of philosophy. The question of mental illness as disease is profound and clarification is necessary with respect to the distress brought about in form of ailment. Further, there are various queries pertaining to whether classification and labelling of mental distress can be validated or be dispensed with all classification and attempts to comprehend the distress within an individual or narrative term (Kirmayer 2012).

The third area of mental philosophy entails the critical question involving the understanding of the subjective experiences with respect to mental distress (Thorton 2007). Further, philosophy of mental health seeks to understand the possibility and empathise with the experiences of a mental patient. Health practitioners among other care givers have the responsibility of ensuring that there is a clear understanding of the biological processes or if the possibility of empathising with and understanding the state of madness content is viable (Aisenberg 2008). Finally, the fourth area involves the philosophical aspect of mental health that also surrounds the ethical aspect with regard to psychiatry on the question of coercion and care. The ethical underpinning of mental health practice ought to be addressed in detail to have a clear perspective of how mental health practitioners can effectively attend to mental patients (Thornton 2007).

Mental health and its promotional attributes are saturated with theoretical uncertainty prompting for the need to evaluate the philosophical aspect with regard investigation (Makhinson 2012). However, most philosophical discussion pertaining to health promotion has not majorly realised greater impetus in both the academic and professional aspects to come up with crucial findings to promote efficiency in mental health. The rise of philosophical attributes with respect to psychiatry came into being in the twentieth century. Further, anti-psychiatry came into being due to criticism of mental health care coupled with its contentious aspects prompted by the resurgence of philosophical interests (Taylor 2009). Critical concerns involves the concern with respect to ensuring increased efforts to understand the various attributes in the area surrounding the actualisation of better mental health. The need for a clear analysis and understanding of specifics pertaining to mental health calls for increased inputs by all stakeholders in the line of medicine (Norcoss, Beutler and Levant 2006). However, this cannot be realised without a clear understanding of the various concepts and aspects surrounding mental health and how to effectively tackle the problem.

A central philosophical question in respect to the practice of mental health care involves the ontological status of mental illness (Kirmayer 2012). Upon discussing mental distress, it involves discussion of physical illness and the connection with regard to mental conceptualisation as a series of responses regarding life pressures. One critical question involves the fact that with the dispensing of a concept of disease, then how psychiatry fits in the medical sciences (Makhinson 2012). This brings up the basic prevue of ensuring that mental disorders continue to be classified even with the absence of underlying biological findings that can be validated to guarantee the diagnosis by clinicians with respect to mental illness. With increased cases of mental disorders like dementia and schizophrenia among the aging populations, understanding the biological aspects of mental ailments becomes reality (Norcoss, Beutler and Levant 2006). Although the biological makers pertaining to the disease that affect the older persons have continuously been identified, there is need to establish critical biological triggers with respect to psychiatry. On critically looking into the categories of mental disorder, it is evident that their classification was institutionalised through observation (Taylor 2009). At the end of the nineteenth century and emergence of the twentieth century triggered the need to critically address various issues relating mental health and wellbeing. The definition and consequent addressing the philosophical questions of mental illnesses brought about clear understanding of the nature of mental health (Bolton 2008).

Effective understanding of the conceptual aspect of mental health is critical to ensuring having a conceptual framework to coach and mentor health practitioners involved in mental care (Parnas, Sass and Zahavi 2008). The need for qualified and competent nursing professionals, as well as other health practitioners involved with mental health treatment and care is inevitable. Thus, the need to have concise and elaborate mental health philosophies addressing the basic fundamental need for mental health care for clients of all cadres and ages. The significance of mental care is underpinned on the fact that without a sane mind, individuals become incapacitated to work or carry out their tasks in a credible manner (Fulford, Stanghelli and Broome 2004). Though an individual may be well endowed physically with strength and might to carry out substantial tasks for the benefit of a society or a given organization, having unstable state of mind makes the whole persona irrelevant and useless for the respective entities. In context, philosophies of mental health help establish crucial frameworks and evidence based practices outlines to help practitioners address prevailing conditions and help their clients realise their target goals, as well as fulfil their responsibilities (Ahmedani 2011). Generally, the understanding and coming up with solutions touching on mental health and wellbeing forms a key attribute to the medical practitioners. Having effective skills and experience on the disorders affecting patients helps medical personnel to have first-hand knowhow on the critical practices to initiate to ensure recovery (Joseph, et al., 2009).

Key contemporary interfaces arise with regard to issues of the mind and brain touching on the necessity to enhance neuroimaging technologies (Parnas, Sass and Zahavi 2008). Understanding of the philosophies of mental health enhances the perspectives pertaining to care and treatment in that context. Thus, with effective awareness of the mental health and its attributes, effective evidence based practices are devised. Further, crucial technologies that can be utilised in the treatment and clearly understanding mental health like functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging are put in place to ensure critical care and management of mental disorders (Cox 2008). Critical understanding of the neuroimaging patterns are tied to the concept of reductionism which entails the analysis and description of complex phenomenon that is embraced with a view to depict a simpler or more basic level and in respect to providing sufficient explanation. According to Cox (2008), all health care attributes have an inherent mental health component due to the fact mental sanity greatly contributes to the effective recovery of a patient. The provision of quality health care entails having a holistic approach to the needs of the individual that involves their mental and cognitive abilities. The mental wellbeing is critical in all aspects of effective care delivery to the critically ill patients and thus, the need for increased emphasis on understanding the mental attributes and philosophies within the concept of mental health (Kirmayer 2012).

In conclusion, philosophies of mental health involve critical aspects and concepts surrounding the main context of mental wellbeing and sanity. The need to have a clear understanding of the philosophy of mental health is in respect to having a clear understanding of the various aspects that can be utilised to clearly have a better perspective on how to address various disorders affecting the mental health. Mental health incorporates the cognitive and psychological attributes with the need to have increased awareness of the connection between mental health and overall wellbeing being imperative. Generally, the philosophies of mental health can be depicted with increased need to understand the need for awareness and evidence-based practice to address issues pertaining to mental health and wellness. Having diverse knowledge and conceptual understanding of the mental health enhances care models and treatment plans among mental illness promoting the practice of mental health care. In context, philosophies of mental health are a complex but critical attribute in the realisation of overall wellbeing of a patient.


Reference List

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