Comparison with Community Psychology and Public Health

1055 Words Apr 30th, 2012 5 Pages
Introduction
The American Heritage Medical dictionary (Website one, 2007) defines community psychology (CP) as “the application of psychology to community programs for the prevention of mental health disorders and the promotion of mental health.” Public health (PH) on the other hand is defined as “the science and practice of protecting and improving the health of a community as by preventative medicine; health education; control of communicable diseases; application of sanitary measures and monitoring of environmental hazards (website two, 2007).” Both approaches have its own merits that set it apart from the other and similarities that provide common ground from which both can work in tandem. It is the aim of this assignment to compare
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CP understands mental illness as being a social problem rather than a mental problem. PH on the other hand uses a multi-factorial approach. Gilbert (1995) states that this approach takes all variables and contributing factors into account, it also looks at the interdependence between these variables and factors. Gilbert (1995) further states that physical and biological factors work with other factors that occur psychologically, socially and environmentally. In understanding both approaches it is understood that CP has a focus on social change, while PH has a focus on dealing with social problems. CP involves theory and social research that are not easily translatable into realistic goals and PH always involves concrete objectives that easily form realistic goals. Although CP and PH have different streams of thinking there are similarities between these two approaches. In a study of both Seedat et al (1988) and Gilbert (1995) the following similarities were established, both approaches require active participation by the community members, both seek to promote positive mental health and emphasis prevention. Skills development within the community is fundamental within both approaches. CP and PH both involve natural care-givers of the community to implement the action of each approach, taking into consideration the traditions and beliefs held by the community. According to