In 1952, the American Psychiatric Association first published the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-I), marking the first attempt to approach the diagnosis of mental illness through standardized definitions and criteria. The latest edition, DSM-IV-TR, published in 2000, provides a classification system that attempts to separate mental illnesses into diagnostic categories based on descriptions of symptoms (that is, what people say and do as a reflection of how they think and feel) and on the course of the illness.
Some of the diagnosis include: Anxiety disorders, Bi-polar disorder, Depression, Chemical Dependency, Schizophrenia, Personality Disorders, Trauma/PTSD, Self Mutilation, Dissociative Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and Eating Disorders. Mental Illness can occur in infants, children, adolescents, adults and in the elderly. (SAMHSA/NAC, 1997).
Mental Health Interventions
Interventions will vary depending on the diagnosis. There proven methods of interventions for many of the diagnosis. The DSM-IV often lists certain commonly used interventions. Some may include: Cognitive therapy, Behavior Modification, Rational Emotive therapy, Group therapy, Child-Parent Interventions, Medication, Art therapy narrative therapy, Talk therapy, Marriage therapy, and Family therapy to name a few. It is also important to educate the patient about their diagnosis, medication and options for therapy. The risk of suicide is often increased in people with co-occurring disorders who may present with multiple risk factors at any given time.
- Mental Health Screening Tools
- Mini Mental Status Examination
- Geriatric Depression Scale
- Beck Depression Inventory
- PRIME-MD (mood questions)
- Patient Health Questionnaire
Social Issues & Barriers to Care
There are several issues and barriers to care for people with mental illness. Some of the barriers can be social stigma, language, cultural, financial, or basic lack of resources in the community. Among immigrants, people of color and the poor, advocates say, the mental health system is especially prone to misunderstanding. In marginalized neighborhoods, the system’s shortcomings are compounded by the challenge of responding to the needs of different ethnic groups. Local service providers strain under tight budgets and turn over. Most communities do not have comprehensive on site- health clinics. Many people lack health insurance and may find counseling and therapy financially out of reach. The question of “cultural competency” has emerged as a major flashpoint in the debate over equity in mental health. Immigrant families may struggle just to get help in the right language.
National & Local Mental Health Resources
Alcoholics Anonymous (Substance Abuse Treatment) – (352) 372-8091. Triangle Club (352) 373-9236
AAC Alcohol Awareness Council – A resource about Mental Health and Drug Abuse
CDS Family & Behavorial Health Services, Inc. 352-224-0628 (for specific links to youth shelters, counseling, prevention, education, and teen/youth hotlines).
Corner Drug Store Inc. (Out Patient Substance Abuse Treatment) – (352) 334-3800
Crisis Center Alachua County (Suicide Prevention counseling, referrals for substance abuse, domestic violence) – (352) 264-6785 or 24/7 Crisis Hotline (352) 264-6789
Helping Hands Clinic (Psychiatrists available every other Monday) Mondays 5-7pm
419 NE 1st Street Gainesville, Florida 32601 – (352) 372-8523
Meridian Behavioral Health Care Inc. (Mental Health, Substance Abuse Treatment. Residential Detox Center) – (352) 374-5600
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI – (352) 374-5600 x 8322 or toll free 1-800-330-5615 x 8322
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) firstname.lastname@example.org
866-615-6464 ( toll-free ), 866-415-8051 ( TTY toll-free ), 301-443-4279 ( Fax )
UFandShands Florida Recovery Center Appointments: (352) 265-4375, OutPatient (352) 265-4357.
Mental Health Facts
Mental illnesses are biologically based brain disorders. They cannot be overcome through “will power” and are not related to a person’s “character” or intelligence.
The World Health Organization has reported that four of the 10 leading causes of disability in the U.S. and other developed countries are mental disorders. By 2020, Major Depressive illness will be the leading cause of disability in the world for women and children.
The best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective; between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and supports.
Without treatment the consequences of mental illness for the individual and society are staggering; unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, suicide and wasted lives; The economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than 100 billion dollars each year in the United States.