Positive Change for Mental Health Advocacy

This Task Force on Co-Occurrence report is part of the WHO (World Health Organization) Mental Health Policy and Service guidance package, providing practical information to assist countries in improving their populations’ mental health.

One of the eleven areas of the mental health policy where action should be taken is Advocacy for mental health for people having mental illnesses as well as their families. Many countries rely heavily on Advocacy for mental health groups for policy and legislation. Despite research suggesting that mental health policies will likely stay relevant in some countries, they have proved challenging in other nations—several WHO surveys indicate that the organization has improved billions of people worldwide and enhanced their well-being. The result has been an increased awareness of the mental health to the public and individuals and organizations that contribute to that well-being.

A new movement has been developed known as Task Force on Co-Occurrence, favoring reducing stigma and discrimination against patients with mental health disorders, thus promoting their human rights. A multi-dimensional approach is utilized to increase healthy mental well-being by removing significant structural and psychological barriers. Advocacy began when individuals who suffered from mental disorders and the families of those individuals began calling attention to mental disorders through their efforts to raise public awareness. The people who suffer from mental illnesses contributed to structuring the discussion and adding their own opinion. People were drawn to these people and their families, and through connections to many other organizations, more and more people joined them.

Several government groups and associations of the mental health workers and health organizations participate in this challenge. Advocacy has recently expanded to encompass minor mental illnesses and the overall needs of the population, inclusive of their advocates.

Several initiatives undertaken by Tennessee’s Department of the Mental Healthcare and Dual Diagnosis Recovery Network to reduce the rates of co-occurring disorders have resulted in several conferences on co-occurring disorders. During this process, the Task Force on Co-Occurrence was created to help educate the public about mental health issues related to co-occurring disorders. More than 140 hours of service time were committed by over 200 stakeholders to the co-occurrence forum, which involved over 200 stakeholders from 10 communities in several events across the state. To identify effective, low-level, cost-effective solutions to co-occurrence, experts representing various stakeholder groups were formed to identify a task force of experts. It was defined what the next steps would be in Tennessee to address co-occurrences. The consensus-based Task Force on Co-Occurrence use disorder (SUD) defines state barriers to treatment for the most vulnerable population, especially those who have a history of using drugs excessively.

Recently, a study by the Task Force on Co-occurring Disorder confirmed that Tennessee residents experience barriers related to self, family, and community-focused treatment; these barriers are consistent with national Task Force on Co-Occurrence reports. A common language must be established within each state to deliver unified and integrated care for people struggling with dual conditions. People with problematic co-occurring conditions will benefit from policies and services that better accept them and address their challenges to more accessible, appropriate services. Incentives for providers to integrate their systems do not have to be positive to reduce costs.

Tennessee was informed about Advocacy for mental health via a report gathered by the Task Force on Co-Occurrence. The information gathered will be used by legislators, policy-makers, and other parties where appropriate as a tool to monitor and influence the proposed policy changes. Several members of the Task Force underscored the need for synergy in this discussion process to advance the cause forward. It is intended that most of the task force’s workgroups continue meeting to ensure that the recommendations are implemented and distributed throughout the entire state.

Task Force on Co-Occurrence have asked Congress to approve a legislative subcommittee to examine ways of improving co-occurrence services in Tennessee like the Congress did last year.

The Task Force Members Also Suggested that The Following Recommendations Be Implemented:

  • Awareness Activities: Modification of curriculum in university settings for equipping professionals with essential skills to treat patients with coexisting conditions. Prevention and education measures, as well as harm-reduction measures, promotion of the mental health and addiction treatments.
  • Policy Recommendations: Collaboration between mental health and alcohol and drug abuse can be enhanced by opening a line of communication between the two agencies. Create diversionary programs to help reduce crime among people with co-occurring mental illnesses.
  • Provider Capabilities: In addition, the creation of integrated continuums of care will make it easier to manage coexisting conditions with other conditions, regardless of whether they are pre-existing or not. Training employees in the treatment of co-occurring alcohol and drug users is provided as part of a quality management program.
  • Oversight: Involving a governing body to ensure the process of co-occurrence is monitored; ensuring conditions are met as part of an outcome-based treatment program; and establishing and enforcing regulations that would prevent or minimize co-occurrence.
  • Research/Evaluation: can enhance the assessment process so that people with co-occurring disorders can receive effective diagnosis and treatment.

Most regions of the world do not consider mental illnesses more critical than physical health. There is widespread agreement that women worldwide are not getting the proper treatment they need for the natural processes of their bodies (World Health Organization, 2001b).

The Following Are Among the Issues Many Advocacy for Mental Health Have Been Supporting in Recent Years:

  • There is a lack of services for mental health;
  • Medical healthcare costs are out of reach for many people. Physical and mental fitness are not equal.
  • Mental hospitals and psychiatric facilities are giving poor quality of care.
  • need for consumers to be able to access alternative services;
  • The service of paternalism;
  • Information about treatments and the right to self-determination;
  • the need for services to enable individuals to participate more actively and cooperatively in community life;
  • mental disorders, violations of human rights;
  • mental disorders are homesick and deprived of employment opportunities due to a sense of loneliness;
  • Mental disorders are often associated with a stigma, which is why the individual is often excluded;
  • Absence of prevention and promotion programs in schools, places of business, etc.
  • There have been insufficient efforts to implement the mental health policy and plans.
  • Laws and programmes.

Advocacy for Mental Health

As early as the 1960’s early advocacy groups continued to recognize mental health and human rights issues in particular. WHO (2004) Task Force on Co-Occurrence reports that detentions that were initiated without a therapeutic purpose often cannot be justified because they often serve only a narrow and often temporary purpose. Moreover, the movement has played a critical role in helping to eliminate some of the barriers people with mental illnesses face when trying to integrate into society. In the beginning, the advocacy organizations were started by members of people with mental illnesses. Considering that mental health patients suffered from various conditions as a result of illnesses affecting the nervous system, Task Force on Co-Occurrence were formed for the interests of mental health patients. A self-advocacy group certainly plays a key role in improving self-esteem among its members and strengthening their sense of self (Goering et al., 1998; Wahl, 1999).

Policies and laws that foster mental health can be implemented successfully with the support of governments. It is to advocate for one’s rights that they must do for those who want to be protected from discrimination, abuse, or being treated unfairly. One example is Action for Mental Illness in India. They fight for the rights of consumers and their families to receive health services for mental illnesses on the same basis as patients for physical ailments. Similarly, the organizations are urging national authorities to uphold the principle that consumer and family lobbyists should be made a part of revisions to the crucial list of drugs in the country (Personal communication, N. Srinivasan, 2005).

In addition to the Supreme Court of India, they seek its Legal Specialization to set up the National Mental Health Program. For years, an NGO has been advocating for mental health treatment services in Mexico, and as part of that effort, they launched campaigns denouncing human rights violations in mental hospitals. As part of the National Secretary of Health’s initiative in 1999, a demonstration area for Mental Health assistance was established to show that a mental hospital can be transformed into a community service network to assist people seeking rehab and treatment. The lessons from this experience were used to draft a national mental health strategy ten years later (V. Torres González, individual communication, 2004).

Task Force on Co-Occurrence can connect people having mental disorders to one another, allowing them to earn money. An NGO in Bulgaria called ‘The Children of Kubrat’ that includes people who have mental disorders has designed specialized programs to increase empathy among people having mental disorders and work on policy and development issues in collaboration with other groups agencies. Among the art and poetry groups they facilitated, they organized an Internet Art Gallery featuring its members’ art and facilitated the set-up of such groups comprised of clients of mental health assistance

Globally, many policymakers, educators, and patients are becoming increasingly aware of the concept of an ethical dimension to mental healthcare. There is a broad range of individuals and organizations with various backgrounds involved in the process, each with their plan. In some instances, the things that individuals and their associations have in the common act as a united front in their fight because the objectives of the two entities overlap.
Consumer groups and cancer survivors are also involved in the advocacy process and are part of the coalition of organizations involved with the advocacy. Several non-profit groups operate in the area as well.

A variety of government agencies, health departments, state and provincial governments, and foundations provide resources and support advocacy efforts to better the mental health and well-being of anyone who suffers from mental illnesses.

Many countries in the developing world still have not formed a Task Force on Co-Occurrence. On the whole, we believe this is likely to be because economies in these countries are expected to grow rapidly, mostly owing to high employment and high welfare levels in these countries. Development is largely reliant upon the involvement of government officials and private sector investors, both in terms of financial and technical support for the project. In the past, WHO has assisted health ministries worldwide by assisting the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence through regional offices to promote health and mental fitness through various mental health and substance abuse services Task Force Co-occurrence.