Vulnerable Populations The chronically mentally ill are people that suffer from one of many diseases that affect the brain. The brain is the most complex of human organs. The cause of being mentally ill is unknown, but there are most likely many different reasons. There is no cure for being mentally ill but there are many effective treatments that one can get. In history, there have been several movements to try and deinstitutionalize many mental health facilities. The goal for many mental health facilities is rehabilitation which helps integrate them back into the community. The chronically mentally ill are hardly ever successfully rehabilitated or integrated back into the community. The main goals of mental health facilities are usually focused on what the institution wants instead of what the resident wants. Symptoms of chronic mental illness are distorted perceptions, loss of contact with reality, delusions, hallucinations, confused thinking, unstable and inappropriate emotions, bizarre behavior and impaired judgment. There is social awareness that can be achieved from chronically mentally ill people. There is definitely not enough being done for the chronically mentally ill patient and many systems need to work in conjunction with each other to improve the existing social support systems. The opinion of the chronically mentally ill in today’s society has stayed the same over many years. The essential changes in treating chronic mental illness as compared with chronic physical conditions make the rehabilitative programs much more compound. The importance of enhancing the social support networks of chronically mentally ill people was reaffirmed in 1986, when the Southern Regional Education Board published the results of an NIMH-funded study containing guidelines for assessing and improving the effectiveness of mental health case management personnel (David E. Biegel, Elizabeth M. Tracy, Kenneth N. Corvo). This report stated the need for case managers to be informed and know about informal support systems such as churches, social clubs, self-help groups, families and neighborhood leaders. They should also know hot to establish community resources for the chronically mentally ill. In 1955, three out of every four people that received mental health care were treated as inpatients. Today, three out of every four people that receive mental health care are treated as outpatients (David E. Biegel, Elizabeth M. Tracy, Kenneth N. Corvo). The history of treatment for the chronically mentally ill was once individuals that were locked up and forgot about, to the emergence of state mental hospitals, to community mental health facilities and deinstitutionalization. The treatment for the chronically mentally ill today is now increased family support, trans-institutionalization and shunting into the criminal system. The chronically mentally ill need inpatient care, shelter and socialization. Another important factor mostly forgotten with the chronically mentally ill is evaluation and reevaluation of what treatments have or have not worked for them specifically in the past. This should include identifying the medications to which the patient and his family members have responded in the past, remembering that members in the same family are usually responsive to the same medication. The chronically mentally ill patient’s ability to communicate is critical to community retention. They need to learn how to get along with others and develop networks of support. Short-term hospitalization doesn’t allow a chronically mentally ill person to fully develop their socialization skills, but it does provide the opportunity to target specific deficits and areas that need improvement and begin remediation of those areas. References Charles R. Goldman, M. D. (July 30, 1998). CHRONIC/SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS. Retrieved August 30, 2010, from http://www. state. sc. us/dmh/clinical/chronic. htm Recovery Model: 'Mental Health Recovery Model' as it Applies to the Severely and Chronically Mentally III. 2007). Retrieved August 30, 2010, from http://recoverymodel. com/ David E. Biegel, Elizabeth M. Tracy, Kenneth N. Corvo. (1994) Strengthening Social Networks: Intervention Strategies for Mental Health Case Managers Retrieved August 30, 2010, from http://www. mghsocialwork. org/history. html SL Jones, D Roth, PK Jones. (1995). Effect of demographic and behavioral variables on burden of caregivers of chronic mentally ill persons. Retrieved August 30, 2010, from http://www. ps. psychiatryonline. org/cgi/content/abstract/46/2/141
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