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Mental Health Promotion: Behaviour Change Approach versus the Policy Change Approach - Essay Example

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The study will describe two approaches - behaviour change and policy change approaches to mental health promotion. A critical analysis of the two approaches will then be undertaken, leading to a discussion of the strengths and weakness of each method alongside their overall effectiveness. …
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Mental Health Promotion: Behaviour Change Approach versus the Policy Change Approach
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Mental Health Promotion: Behaviour Change Approach versus the Policy Change Approach

The topic of this critical discussion is the mental health promotion. Mental health promotion has become one of the key areas of public health efforts in the modern times. According to Douglas et al., the focus of public health promotion efforts on mental health is the result of recognising the crucial role that mental health plays in influencing physical health. Mental health also determines the health outcomes for a range of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and coronary heart disease. According to WHO, health promotion is a process that enables people to increase control and make improvements on health. Mental health promotion contrasts from the concept of prevention of mental illnesses which involves implementing interventions before the onset of mental illnesses. Mental health is a big issue in public health promotion as evidenced by its debilitating impacts on livelihood. According to the NIMHE, over 900,000 adults claiming sickness and disability benefits report mental illnesses as the primary condition. Further statistics indicate that approximately 15% of people aged 65 and over experience depression. Depression, anxiety and phobias affect one in six individuals in a population at any one time, with the highest rates occurring among the deprived. Public health promotion efforts follow several approaches in dealing with the issue of mental health. Two of these approaches include the behaviour change strategy and policy change approaches....
n the other hand, the legislative approach to mental health promotion involves making efforts to change mental health policies to promote improvements in mental health and its outcomes. The two strategies have advantages and disadvantages, as well as different levels of efficacy. Besides, behaviour change and policy change approaches can be utilised in an integrated multi-strategy approach to mental health promotion. The Behaviour Change Approach to Mental Health Promotion As Douglas et al. (2010, p. 274) argues, the behaviour change approach to mental health promotion involves changing the perspectives of all sections of the society. Individuals with mental health illnesses and those at risk of developing mental health problems are influenced to change behaviour to achieve improvements, while at the same time tackling stigma, discrimination and social exclusion by the rest of the society. The approach also influences the community to understand, support and rid itself of discriminatory practices against the mentally ill and those around them as shown in Figure 1. In true public health promotion fashion, this approach seeks to achieve positive outcomes for the affected at an individual and communal level as discussed below. Figure 1: The behaviour change approach to mental health promotion. (Source: NIMHE 2008, p. 26) The approach for implementing behaviour change to promote mental health involves all stakeholders. The approach gears towards instituting cognitive behaviour changes that lead to strengthening of individuals, strengthening of communities and removal of salient and discernible barriers that arise against the mentally ill in society (NIMHE 2008, p. 26). At the individual level, behaviour change to promote mental health involves self-help approaches to adopt ... Read More
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