Impact of Social Policy on Mental Health in Australia – Article Example

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The paper "Impact of Social Policy on Mental Health in Australia" is a brilliant example of a term paper on social science. Sullivan, Chapman, & Mullen (2008) defines mental disorder or mental illness as a behavioral or psychological pattern which is generally associated with subjective distress or disability that occurs in a person and which is not a part of normal development and culture (Yelland, Sutherland, Wiebe, & Brown, 2009). Mental illness disrupts a person’ s thinking, feeling, ability to relate to others, mood, and daily functioning. In Australia, one in five people experience a mental health problem or illness each year and 45% of people experience a mental health problem or illness at some point during their lifetime.

It is estimated that 3.8% of Australians suffer from high psychological disorders with 6.7 % of the percentage being under 15 years of age and 9.5 % being between 15-17 years of age (Yelland et al. 2009). In addition, statistics show that more women suffer from mental disorders as compared to men. Mental illness is caused by a number of factors, which range from biological, psychological, environmental, and nutritional to lifestyle factors (Fiona, Carole & Ruth, 2010).

Poor mental health can have adverse effects on the lives of individuals, resulting in loss of quality of life and devastating effects on family functioning, parenting effectiveness and childhood development (Michael, Matthew, Karen, Bernie, Stephen & Peter, 2010). Of recent, there has been a growing recognition of the economic impacts of mental illness. In the mid 1990s, Australia’ s goals and targets positioned mental health as a new strategic direction with a focus on the reduction of suicide rates and the effects of mental illness on the lives of people. The Australian social policies The mental health system in Australia is constantly changing and is highly influenced by the social policies of the time.

Major changes have been witnessed in social policies surrounding mental illness over the past 50 years. This has been influenced mainly by conceptualizations of mental illness and advancements in knowledge (Kim, Howard & Scott, 2008). Consequently, the social policies surrounding mental health are constantly evolving. In addition, social policies have considerably been influenced by the ideologies of the time and for many years, the idea of the welfare state prevailed.

The welfare state entailed emerging views, which placed the focus and power within the average person (Yelland et al. 2009). Under this, governing bodies were in place to ensure the collective community sovereignty of a society, theoretically truly serving the people. Economic and capitalist power and persuasion have negatively influenced the maintenance of this ideology (Yelland et al. 2009). This has seen the governing bodies adopt neo-liberal ideologies and relinquishing the financial burden afforded by employing notions of the welfare state.

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