The Philosophical Framework Missing From Mental Health

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Worldwide, mental health challenges are the leading cause of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) and account for 37% of healthy life years lost from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) (WHO, 2011a). Among the 43 million individuals living with a mental health challenge in the U.S., an average of 40-60% do not receive adequate mental health care, if any at all (SAMHSA, 2015). Research has shown and continues to reveal that the stigma of mental health remains one of, if not the most significant barrier to mental health treatment (Corrigan et al., 2014). The purpose of this paper will be to discuss the philosophical framework missing from mental health education, while shedding light upon how this approach could significantly impact mental health care attitudes, beliefs, access and treatment. This is an important topic because stigma not only affects how providers treat their clients, but it also impacts greater occupational, cultural and societal views on mental health challenges, and in turn, the individual suffering from mental health challenges. Additionally, continuing to neglect this issue perpetuates a façade among mental health educators and practitioners, of a unidimensional high-ground, dismissive of the fact that mental health providers are erroneous humans.
To clarify the scope of this paper, concepts must be clarified as follows. The World Health Organization (WHO) (2001) defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual
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