Deinstitutionalization and Mental Illness in Australia

Deinstitutionalization and Mental Illness in Australia

Initially, it was difficult for the clients living with severe mental illness to overcome learning challenges exhibited within the community (Shen, 2014). However, the entry of deinstitutionalization had a notable impact on the mental health system. Additionally, its impacts has stretched further to affect consumers as well as providers of the mental health services. Deinstitutionalization entails the procedure of replacing the isolated and long stay mental health facilities with more community friendly psychiatric medical health centers (Rosen, 2016).  This essay aims to explore the nature of mental health services delivery before deinstitutionalization. Besides, the paper will investigate the changes and impacts of mental health service delivery after deinstitutionalization and the introduction of the Recovery Framework in Australia. The origin Pre-deinstitutionalization of mental health service delivery can be traced back during the period of Australian invasion by British (Rosen, 2016). Aboriginals, the famous indigenous community of Australia, where the major victims of mental health. The mistreatment of the Aboriginal people which comprised land alienation, erosion of their culture and forceful separation of the families resulted to suffering of emotional trauma. To overcome the stressful life, Aboriginals ended up engaging in excessive drug and alcohol abuse, high levels of incarceration and sexual abuse. The British attributed aboriginal response to the culture oppression with mental illness (Shen, 2014). Therefore, the British pulsated that Aboriginal people had to be placed in isolation in corrective and mental illness institutions. The British decision marked the beginning of pre-deinstitutionalization era.

Before deinstitutionalization there was rampant mistreatment of the mental health patients (The Framework for recovery-oriented rehabilitation in mental health care , 2012). Mental health patients were accommodated in isolation with limited opportunity to express their feelings and thoughts. Majority of the mentally ill people were separated from the larger community and their asylums were established in the outside the major cities and in the rural areas (Sveticic, Milner, & De Leo , 2014). Besides, the unbearable experience by the mentally ill patients the psychiatrists who attended to them were also not spared.  According to Commonwealth of Australia (2013 ) the psychiatrists worked independently of their fellow medical specialists.   Stigmatization persisted and the discrimination of the patients continued until the introduction of deinstitutionalization (World Health Organization, 2015). Despite that the problems of the health mental people have continued to exist, especially among the marginalized people but significant changes have been observed in this field.The introduction deinstitutionalization and Recovery Framework in Australian has seen impactful changes in the delivery of the mental health services (Beyondblue, 2012). The appreciation of these approaches have had numerous benefits to the people living with mental illness in Australia. For example, the expenditure on the mental services have continued to increase since deinstitutionalization took place. The increase of spending on mental health system by both the Australian federal government and the states clearly indicates the remarkable improvements of the mental health service delivery.

Service restructuring has also been a key attribute of deinstitutionalization. This mental health approach has been adopted to address the continued challenges even after the introduction of deinstitutionalization. The facilities of the mentally ill patients have continued to increase. Meaning the isolation of the patient is decreasing at a higher level. Again, the stand alone medical hospital are being gotten rid of with the goal of accommodating them in the general hospitals. Alternatively, the community based services such as residential accommodation are no longer isolating the mentally sick people. These strategies have made the sick people feel that they are part of the community and they do not belong to the different world.Workforce reforms is another significant change that has been as result of deinstitutionalization. As noted earlier in the essay the era before deinstitutionalization was characterized by isolation of psychiatrists. However, with   deinstitutionalization there have been fundamental changes in the medical specialists’ workforce. This approach has offered an opportunity for mental health patients to visit any hospital without the stigma caused by other members of the community.  However, this can be used as an opportunity by private sector hospital to diversify their products.

In efforts to implement all the strategies of deinstitutionalization, the Australian Government has emphasized on the observance of the consumer rights. The government has been involving the consumers on mental healthcare planning and service delivery. Additionally, the legislation to establish Mental Health Acts that protects the consumer rights have been passed. This gives the mentally ill people to enjoy all services as other members of the community.

Apart from deinstitutionalization Australian Recovery Framework has been also very critical on improving the welfare of the health mental patients.  This recovery framework is aimed at understanding the mental health community, offering employment opportunities, educational services and reducing the victims’ stigma among other non-health services (Commonwealth of Australia , 2015). Through this framework consumers’ participation, social connectedness, autonomy, individuality, dignity and respect have been restored. Besides, the framework encourages the mental healthcare providers to put the interests of the patients ate hear and ensure quality healthcare is offered to them consistently.The recovery procedures adopted by this framework treats the condition of each patient differently (Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory , 2014). This ensures that an individual problem is dealt with in a specific manner. Second, there are several domains of recovery. Therefore, a psychiatrist can adopt the one which he or she thinks suits the patient best. These domains outperforms the unified recovery methods. Third, they recovery process of a patient is based on the individual as well as on the community participation (Vitale, 2013). Therefore, health care services contributes a little percentage on the recovery of the person as the great part is based on the personal recovery goal. Fourth, the recovery framework helps in the measure of the mental health service performance. This ensures that the appropriateness and the safety of the service delivery is maintained.

The reforms in the Australian mental health services have had a huge impact on the service delivery.  The patients no longer feels isolated and the recovery process has been heightened by their acceptance by the community. Australians have increasing embracing the changes in the mental health system and in the near future the isolation and mistreatment of the mental health patients will be a forgotten thought. However, there is still a gap to be filled as families and the consumers’ feels that the mental health service experience have not been good enough.

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