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Digging Deeper Into What Constitutes a “Mental Health Problem”

0 2 years ago

Individuals are often encouraged to address mental health problems. A new study published in the Journal of Mental Health found that greater clarification is needed on what constitutes “a mental health problem.”1

This study was based on a review of over 100 publications that made reference to “mental health” or “mental illness” and identified 34 different theoretical models to understand the nature of mental health challenges.

While understandings of mental health continue to evolve, it is crucial to include a variety of diverse perspectives to promote equitable outcomes.

Understanding the Research

For this study, researchers reviewed 110 publications and found that there was no clear consensus on if mental health phenomena is considered a disease, the cause of it, and what constitutes “a mental health problem.”

Of 34 theoretical models identified, most were based on biological or psychological approaches but included a few social, consumer, and cultural models, and some drew elements from different mental health approaches.

Researchers found that most biomedical approaches assumed mental illness, while more social approaches questioned this, as oppression was taken into consideration in terms of its impacts on mental health.

While a variety of possibilities for addressing these tensions are outlined by researchers, they stress that these discussions need to include perspectives from individuals with lived experience coping with mental health challenges


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