Mental Health as a Human Service Area - Essay Prowess

Mental Health as a Human Service Area


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Mental Health as a Human Service Area


Metal health is a critical pillar towards overall individual wellbeing. A growing objective of the contemporary health services system is concerned with the state of mental health among America’s aging populace (Administration for Community Living, 2017). Total wellness encompasses social, physical, and mental wellbeing as opposed to some misconceptions, which only address the absence of infirmity. As is the case in other developed economies, the number of aged persons is on an upwards trend while fertility rates decline. Stable growth in various societal aspects has led to economic, political, and social stability allowing for life expectancy rates to progress upwards. Unfortunately, this is bound to result in a decline in the labor force, which will eventually lead to instabilities at the macroeconomic level. The rising aging population threats economic stability because of increased spending on health (Prince, Wu, Guo, Robledo, O’Donnell, Sullivan, Yusuf, 2015). Thus, the government must chart for increased social benefit programs, healthcare services, and pensions for the aged. The designing and delivery of requisite mental health services to the aging population has become a growing societal challenge as policy makers and the involved federal agencies project a larger aged populace soon meaning mental health will continue shaping discourses.

The Administration on Aging (AoA) is an agency under the U.S. Department of health and Human Services. The AoA is tasked with actualizing provisions provided in the Older American Act (1965) as well as incorporating related amendments (Administration for Community Living, 2017). The agency bears the mandate to enter collaborations with other units towards promoting overall wellbeing of America’s aging populace. These alliances champion for programs and service provision aimed at enabling independent living at home as well as the community level by the elderly. The purpose of such initiatives is to emphasize on the significant roles community oriented services can be taken up by the different classes of elderly persons (Ehde, Dillworth, & Turner, 2014). The different classes include those with good mental health that have the capacity to benefit from educational and outreach initiatives as well as older persons experiencing crisis leading to acute stress.

Furthermore, individuals suffering mild to severe mental disorders fit into the class of mentally unstable people requiring the services of AoA. Thus, AoA promotes the welfare of the elderly people in the U.S. by offering care, support, and health promotion practices (Administration for Community Living, 2017). The agency has different programs that promote the mental health of citizens. These programs include brain health, long-term care ombudsman, support for people with dementia, and state insurance assistance (Administration for Community Living, 2017). The services of AoA help the aging population to enhance their wellness as well as overcome mental challenges associated with old age. The AoA programs involve the different levels of governments, particularly federal and state units.

Depression and Diminished Community Wellness

It is common to encounter that the general society mistakenly believes that feeling low, sad, or depressed is normal among the aging persons. A critical public health issue appertains to depression which not only translates to lower quality of life but also leads to emotional, social, and physical suffering (Ehde, Dillworth, & Turner, 2014). Similarly, such problems inadvertently lead to falling indexes regarding the overall community wellbeing, as families and friends are also affected leading to diminished social, physical, and psychological functioning. In this regard, elderly people with depression tend to negatively affect the wellness of their families or the community if the problem is not diagnosed properly. In most cases, the affected person will not realize that depression is an issue; hence, it is a significant layer of mental health. Therefore, it is critical for agencies linked to the appraising living standards among the elderly to champion for policy promoting prevention as well as early detection of mental conditions among the aging populace.

Given that caring for the aged desires a multi-agency approach, screening of mental problems is presently commonplace in periodic health assessments. Increased early diagnosis and education initiatives aimed at preventing mental illness positively, especially depression which affects the aged persons greatly (Prince et al., 2015). It is imperative to note that early diagnosis allows this specific population to experience health improvements associated with other mental or physical conditions and illnesses. Prevention and treatment of depression serves to ensure that healthy lifestyles among all societal members are similarly promoted. Many societal members look up to the elderly for guidance on a vast array of issues which translate to overall community wellbeing (Prince et al., 2015). Empowering the aged to successfully acquire effective strategies for combating feeling of helplessness and stress demands great support from all stakeholders. Moreover, the government need to increase funding to agencies working with the AoA to help uplift the overall wellness of elderly people.

Case Study

Mr. Saul is a white male aged 69 years. He is a widower who lives alone and is retired. He is not known to have friends in the neighborhood apart from family members who visit occasionally. Mr. Saul was not previously known to local community mental health service providers. However, he was picked up from his home after a neighbor found a suicide note placed in his letterbox six weeks ago. Mr. Jenkins, his proprietor had gone to check on Mr. Saul when he found the patient unconscious. A suicide note lay close to Mr. Saul. Mr. Jenkins contacted emergency service personnel immediately upon viewing the note. The suicide note described Mr. Saul’s predicaments concerning the inability to adequately cope with his loneliness and waning health. The note did not give any other motivations for Mr. Saul’s attempted suicide.

Mr. Saul’s neighbors have never reported any suicide case in the past 10 years. Moreover, from the obtained reports, Mr. Saul has never attempted to commit suicide in his life.  When the medics brought Mr. Saul to the hospital, he looked healthy but glum. He seemed educated and understood the exchanges between the practitioners clearly. Medical personnel identified that Mr. Saul ingested a vial of oxycodone tablets in an attempted suicide. After regaining consciousness, the patient strongly refused to receive further medical help, declined observations, and became violent when nurses attempted to give intravenous medication. The physician in charge determined that his suicidal ideations clearly indicated his lack of capacity to comply with medical advisors. The practitioners did not have a choice, but to treat Mr. Saul urgently without his consent.

His family members informed the doctors in charge that Mr. Saul was on treatment for type 2 diabetes that was complicated by neuropathy leading to unbearable pain. He said that many of his peers had passed on and could not bear being overweight. He provided that he discussed his challenges with his general practitioner nine months earlier but did not get any medical intervention for this. Perhaps, the effects of diabetes and lack of friends to enthuse Mr. Saul had led him to see death is the easiest route. Doctors conducted assessments and held him in a geriatric psychiatric ward for further observations against his own will. This decision was informed by the fact that he had proven to be a risk to himself. The doctors determined that it was prudent to offer counseling to the patient and introduce him into mental health programs for the elderly. The major dysfunction with the provided treatment is the interactions that Mr. Saul will cultivate with the doctors or people in the agency.




Administration for Community Living. (2017). About the administration on aging (AoA). Retrieved from

Prince, M. J., Wu, F., Guo, Y., Robledo, L. M. G., O’Donnell, M., Sullivan, R., & Yusuf, S. (2015). The burden of disease in older people and implications for health policy and practice. The Lancet385(9967), 549-562.

Ehde, D. M., Dillworth, T. M., & Turner, J. A. (2014). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for individuals with chronic pain: efficacy, innovations, and directions for research. American Psychologist69(2), 153.

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