This essay aims to critically compare and contrast the community psychology and public health approaches to social problems. It is imperative however to first explain what these two concepts mean before executing on how they compare and differ from each other. It would also be of significance to know how these concepts where established. Definitions
Community psychology is that branch of psychology concerned with how people relate to community and society, and according to this approach there are multiple levels in which individuals connect to the community and this includes friends or family, workplace, religion, culture and society (as cited in Community Psychology Linking Individuals and Community, 2001).Psychologists working in this arena use collaborative research and action to try understand the life of individuals, communities, and society and as well to enhance the quality life. In their investigations, they tend to focus more on social structure that seem to affect the community and in turn the individuals such as cultural, economic, social, political and environmental issues (Community Psychology, 2001). The approach also deals with community problems such as mental health and believes that this is not an individual issue but involves the community at large (New Perspectives In Community Psychology, 2002).The advocates of this approach such as Seedat, Cloete,& Shochet(cited in Community Psychology,2002) tend to ague the intrapsychic nature of mental illness by the mainstream psychology which suggest that the problem lies within the individual and ignoring social issues such as poverty, substance abuse, violence, and women-battering. The problem created by this model is its elitist and selective nature which seems to have failed to address the needs of majority in society and focused only in individuals. Hence community psychology seek to concern itself with the issues that involves the community and its collectiveness other than only those concerning the individual matters and in that process involve the community in problem- solving(Seedat et al cited in Community Psychology,2002). The main aim of this approach is to create new ways of empowering people within their communities, promote social change and diversity, promote individual and community well-being and prevent disorder. Public health on the other hand, is that field of both medicine and psychology that concerns itself with the prevention of diseases, prolonging of life and promotion of health, and it is doing so using the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals (http://www.answers .com/topic/community-psychology).In its process of attempting to accomplishing the above-mentioned ,it is understood to be employing both the combination of science, skills and believes that are intended to maintain and improve the people’s health through collective and social action (Community Psychology,2002). The activities involved in this approach tend to be adjusted to the changing technology and social values, though its goals remains unaffected, which includes population’s reduction of diseases, premature death and discomfort and disability caused by diseases (Community Psychology, 2002).The issues of health dealt with are within the context of specified population and the population in question can be small or large. As stated by the United Nations’ World Health Organization (as cited in http://www.answers.com/topic/community-psychology), the dimensions of health in this regard can include a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not solely the absence of disease or infirmity. Public health also involves the interdisciplinary approaches of epidemiology, biostatistics and health services. Other important subfields are environmental health, community health, behavioral health, health economics, public policy and occupational health....
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