What is Mental Health Promotion?

What is Mental Health Promotion? What types of problems do women present with and what treatments are they offered? How can mental health promotion help women?

© SolutionLibrary Inc. solutionlibary.com 9836dcf9d7 https://solutionlibrary.com/psychology/abnormal-psychology/what-is-mental-health-promotion-3j5

Solution Preview

...o had come to hospital for the first time with a diagnosis of depression.

It would therefore be beneficial for MHP to focus on the cause of this depression in women and possible factors, which would reduce the chance of onset or reduce the symptoms. However, there are conflicting explanations as to the reasons for the disorder. One major explanation for the cause is focused on biological factors, such as the hormonal changes, which occur when a women reaches menopause ('involutional melancholia').

Many doctors tend to employ the biological model and believe that women suffering from more serious forms of depression, anxiety or baby blues are suffering from a real physically based illness, and not simply reacting logically to intolerable circumstances (Rowe, 1991). As the biological model is employed women are often treated with drug or behavioural therapy and not given other opportunity to join a support group or attend women centered therapy.

GPs have argued this results from a lack of time and that 'you cannot always blame the doctor, the fact is the doctor has not always got the time' (Curran & Golombok, 1985: 62). GPs also stress that they can't solve the socioeconomic problems faced by their patients and are under pressure to prescribe something that will help their patients to 'cope' with the pressures (Horder, 1991). Despite this reasonable arguments women can still object that the overperscribing of psychotropic drugs by GPs is ultimately de-empowering and reduces women's ability to seek alternative more effective remedies to their mental health problems.

Bart (1971) offers an alternative explanation based on the idea of 'role expectations.' She interviewed women who were diagnosed with depression just after a child had left home or got engaged/married. She concluded that the women had 'thrown themselves' into the role of mother and house maker so completely that when the child left they were devastated. The irony being (as Bart puts it) women arrived in their position by doing exactly what was expected of them.

Women's 'social role' may contribute to her developing a mental illness. Johnstone (2000: 102) introduces the idea that psychiatrists, particularly male ones, often find women with depression bemusing and frustrating, meaning that women will not receive the best treatment possible and are in danger of being miss diagnosed. This adds another factor to MHP that women need to understand the threat of the system!

General MHP focuses on eight key elements (Tudor, 1996), these include: coping, tension & stress management and autonomy. The notion of coping derives from the concept of adaption; Lazarus (1976) identifies forms of direct action for coping to prepare against aggression and avoidance.

Difficulty has arisen when approaches such as that of 'coping' are applied to women. The ideas of 'coping' MHP is based on is founded on the ideals of 'putting up with' something, thus coping mechanisms are often more about self-regulation and impulse control, rather than challenging the source of the problem. This may encourage women to just 'accept' their situation and social position much like the 'depressed housewife'.

This situation becomes even more challenging for women when MHP suggests seeking help from their GP. For example the mental health charity 'MIND' published a 'consumer-friendly' book, included the question 'what do you do if you suspect the onset of mental disturbance?' the answer given was; 'the first move must be to go to a doctor' (Melville, 1980: 15). As previous evidence has revealed, visiting the doctor may not be the best solution for women finding to difficult to 'cope' as women are often just offered drug therapy.

Furthermore, Johnstone (2000) suggests that women tend to be pushed aside in hospital as they are in life. Women are 'cured' if they manage to take up their 'role' within society and 'cope' with their present situation. Chesler (1972) has explored such ideas in her book, 'Women and Madness' arguing that women are in danger of being labeled 'mad' either, when they take the devalued female role to the extreme (becoming anxious, weepy, dependant) or, when they reject the traditional role by becoming too aggressive.

This danger was dramatically illustrated by Broverman (1970) who asked 79 psychiatrists (both male and female), to answer a questionnaire containing pairs of descriptions. Findings revealed that professionals' ideas of what constituted a healthy mature male were very similar to what constituted as a healthy adult. The healthy mature women in their view however, should be more ...