POST 2: The relationship between economic and child mental health

by Yu Zhang


Introduction:

Mental health issue has involved in different crowd, especially children. One of reason to increase the rate of mental illness is about economic that could affect the quality of mental health services, includes funding support and quality of family treatment for children. This week I’m trying to focus on children’s mental health. Consider about children is always relate to family, school and policies, so I want to extend my research on mental health in children that might help to figure out some interesting positions.


Article 1: Greek financial crisis and child mental health

Base on the issue of mental health. I read ‘Greek financial crisis and child mental health’ by the associate professor of Child Psychiatry, Gerasimos Kolaitis. It’s a factual article with well researched. He’s writing for the child who has mental health that affects by financial crisis, and guides readers to realize the quality of treatment for children will affect future of the country. Basically, Gerasimos’s position is poverty is the distal risk factor for children’s mental health, because poverty promotes harsh parenting that guides child have antisocial behavior. That’s why since Greek financial crisis happened; the number of abused or neglected children is increased from 81 cases in 2011 to 170 cases in 2014. On the other hand, Greek financial crisis affect government cut 50% public funding in 2014 if compare to 2007, that affect the child and adolescent mental health services and supportive policies in the danger of being suspended or unable to be fully operational. It means mental health start lacking support because lots of mental health community centers, psychosocial rehabilitation units closed in last 3 years. Also, the phenomenon of social exclusion is rising by Greek financial crisis, it affects the rate of  suicide in adults is increased and some parents start to give up to financial support their children with debilitating disorders. This phenomenon reflects the psychology of poverty and how does economic relates to mental illness. However, Gerasimos mentioned the investment of support the vulnerable families with mental illness can help those children live with dignity and the society to prepare and improve the future, so no matter how’s the situation of financial crisis going, the funding of support child mental health should be considerable with priority.


Article 2: Challenges to Collaboration in School Mental Health and Strategies for Overcoming Them

Another article I read is ‘Challenges to Collaboration in School Mental Health and Strategies for Overcoming Them’ by Mark Weist, Elizabeth Mellin, Kerri Chambers etc. It mentioned much mental health services provided from school in America, and they have professional collaboration with school counselors, psychologists, and social workers to plan strategy for mental health. The position of the authors are mental health services in schools has many challenges to pass through. One challenge is not all of schools are able to provide the service because of poverty. Also, time is another concern, includes personnel training for teacher and data collection about what students need, and the specific role setting for interdisciplinary teamwork, includes extensive planning, monitoring, reflection, and fluid refinement of game plans and processes. So it’s very difficult to do and maintain mental health service without funding support. Unfortunately, schools are required to use limited resources with complex issues like poverty, substance abuse, and family concerns to improve mental health services, which is unrealistic. Also, school collaborates with mental health professionals is difficult because of authority, which means school counselors restrict mental health professionals for plan and manage as they think professionals are not the part of education, that also affect schools will not preferentially consider the coordination of services for interdisciplinary teamwork. The last challenge is limited funding that affects limited resources to support the collaboration, includes office space, laptop, and especially the construction of digital system to record materials about the situation of mental health for children. It’s always a competition to mental health professionals if they don’t have a document to update the information because they have to start again to collect the resources if schools change to collaborate with another mental health services group. However, funding and time are the main factors to stop the quality of mental health services in school to be better.


Conclusion:

Overall, I agree with both article’s position and they are all mention about the effect of poverty on mental health, especially the importance of government support. The difference is the first article mentions how does poverty affect family and second article mention how does poverty affect mental health strategy in school. However, I think school is the link of mental heal services after I read these articles, it is the stage that can provide parents, educators, and psychologist to communicate how to plan and refine mental health strategy.


Reference:

Giannakopoulos G. & Kolaitis, G. 2015, ‘Greek financial crisis and child mental health’, The Lancet, vol.386, p.335.

Weist, M.D., Mellin, E.A., Chambers, K.L., Lever, N.A., Haber D., & Blaber, C., 2012, ‘Challenges to Collaboration in School Mental Health and Strategies for Overcoming Them’, Journal of School Health, vol.82, pp.97-105.

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