Around the globe, attitudes towards mental health and the provision of treatment services vary wildly. Even in the wealthy Western world where the resources and knowledge required to tackle the problems that arise, both to individuals and society, there seems to be a lack of political will when it comes to deploying those resources appropriately. The result is that the stigma around mental health continues to grow and those suffering from complex psychological disorders are finding it harder and harder to gain access to the appropriate treatments, making it more important than ever for governments to encourage people to consider an MPH degree as a viable degree choice.
Rising Number of Cases
While steps in the right direction are being taken, the benefits these would normally bring are being mitigated somewhat by the simple fact that rates of mental health problems appear to be on the rise and the rate of their increase in the general population is outstripping our efforts at modernizing and reforming the provision of mental health care. Below are some of the trends that are emerging in response to this growing crisis. These represent our current best efforts at dramatically reducing the prevalence of mental health in society and making treatment more easily and widely available.
Online counseling services represent what is arguably one of the most positive innovations to marry mental health care with technological advances. Online counseling was originally introduced in order to assist those with severe anxiety disorder or agoraphobia for whom traveling to a counselor or psychologist can be a great challenge. The technology has since been widely embraced by the industry as a whole and now more counseling sessions than ever before are being conducted via online communications services such as Skype. Online therapy is also often cheaper than visiting a counselor’s office and therapists who run their services online are able to see more patients each day, in part due to the fact that patients seem more likely to engage with and turn up for online based counseling sessions.
The current prevailing model of depression and anxiety disorders involves imbalances in the levels of particular neurotransmitters in the brain. The brain is its own ecosystem, which exists in a state of delicate equilibrium. Where one component of its normal functioning, be it a neurotransmitter or another hormone, is out of balance it can quickly throw the whole system off. Our diets are where we get a lot of the essential building blocks that our body needs to synthesize neurotransmitters. These are called ‘essential amino-acids’. It is, therefore, becoming more common for mental health initiatives to include some discussion of the role of nutrition in maintaining the balance of chemicals. If you are interested in getting involved with shaping public policy on mental health, then you should consider studying for a master of public health degree.
Mental health treatment is a field that constantly needs new talent and as a field that only looks set to become more important over the next several years, it makes for an excellent career path.