Mental health care is a primary concern to social workers, who are the main providers of care to populations with mental health diagnoses. The system that provides services to individuals with mental health issues is often criticized for being reactive and only responding when individuals are in crisis. Crisis response is not designed to provide on-going care and is frequently very expensive, especially if hospitalization is involved.
Critics suggest a comprehensive plan, which involves preventive services, as well as a continuum of care. However, there are few, if any, effective and efficient program models. Social work expertise and input are vital to implementing effective services. Targeting services to individuals with a diagnosis of mental illness is one strategy. Another approach includes providing an array of services that are also preventative in nature. How might these suggestions address potential policy gaps in caring for individuals such as the family members in the Parker Family case?
For this Discussion, review this week’s resources, including the Parker Family video. Then consider the specific challenges or gaps in caring for individuals with a chronic mental illness might present for the mental health system based on the Parker case. Finally, think about how environmental stressors, such as poverty, can aggravate mental illness and make treatment more challenging.