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Critical essay topics: Mental health policy
Mental health problems are now stigmatized and viewed as a threat for society. That's why, the majority of mentally ill individuals were institutionalized in the 1960s and 1970s, but later, deinstitutionalization policy enhanced their integration into local communities. The most visible break-through is the normalization of their lifestyles through protecting employment and 'humanizing' healthcare. In addition, the federal government funds the vital scholarly research towards the perfection of treatment techniques, yet some critics still suggest that mental illness inevitably results in the isolation -either in reservations (small communities) or in resident care institutions.
Major thesis statements:
1) The government still relies upon institutional resources, rather than activating community support.
2) Psychiatric examination and case evaluation is now a long and complicated process that allows avoiding mistakes and misunderstandings, so that individual needs are usually addressed.
3) Mental illness is a social stigma, thus, the individuals, who have such problems, have limited opportunities for employment, regardless of their workability.
4) Mental health policy is poorly-coordinated, and the cooperation among government institutions and non-government agencies remains episodic.
Primary issues to discuss:
1) Medicaid and Supplementary Security Income programs - do they satisfy the main needs of mentally ill individuals.
2) Standards of living provided to individuals with mental health problems.
3) The 'mainstreaming' of persons with mental illness.
4) New treatment methods, funded by the federal government. Has there occurred any notable development over the last 50 years?
5) Food stamps and housing vouchers for mentally ill individuals.
6) Deinstitutionalization: is this trend universal for the entire country?
7) Should the United States apply European experience in mental health area? Which aspects of Western European policy are likely to improve American services?
1) Grob, G.N. Government and mental health policy. A structural analysis. Milbank Quarterly, 72 (3): pp. 471-500, 1994.
2) Grob, G.N. Deinstitutionalization: The illusion of policy. Journal of Policy History, 9(1): pp.48-73, 1997.
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Selected topics for critical essay were split into two categories:
Social policy issues
Social support for disabled
Mental health policy
Women rights in Muslim world
Gender equality in the US
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