The field of mental health counseling is evolving, growing, and changing. The pioneers of this change brought very important enhancements to the field of mental health counseling. Counselors are professionals who assist individuals and groups with their personal problems in order to help them become more self-sufficient. Individuals that specialize in mental health counseling concentrate on promoting optimum mental health through various programs and services. In this paper I will explain the history, changes, health and human services program development and changes in legislation as it applies to mental health programs and treatments. I will also discuss the training, licensing, certificate, and education of being a mental health counselor (Burger, 2011). Introduction
In America there are a boundless array of cultures, races, and ethnicities. With this diversity comes incalculable energy and optimism. Diversity has enriched America by bringing global ideas, perspectives, and productive contributions to all areas of contemporary life. The enduring contributions of minorities, like those of all Americans, rest on a foundation of mental health. Mental health and mental illness require the broad focus of a public health approach. Mental disorders are disabling conditions. Mental health and mental illness are points on a continuum. The mind and body are inseparable. Stigma is a major obstacle preventing people from getting help (Burger, 2011). Mental Health
Mental disorders are health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior associated with distress or impaired functioning. People of all ages can be affected by mental illness; and individuals in different stages of life may be susceptible to certain kinds of mental disorders. Older adults have their own special mental health problems and needs. Treatment interventions such as psychotherapy and medication can benefit individuals with mental illness when tailored to meet the specific needs of each patient (World Health Organization, 2007). Mental health is fundamental to overall health and productivity. Mental health is the basis for successful contributions to family, community, and society. Throughout our lifespan, mental health is the wellbeing of our thinking and communication skills, learning, resilience, and self-esteem. It is easy to dismiss the value of mental health until problems appear. Mental health problems and illnesses are real and disabling conditions that are experienced by one in five Americans. Left untreated, mental illnesses can result in disability and despair for families, schools, communities, and the workplace. Mental health takes a toll on society. The stigma surrounding mental illness is a powerful barrier to reaching treatment. People with mental illness feel shame and fear of discrimination about a condition that is as real and disabling as any other serious health condition (World Health Organization, 2007). Although there have been many strides made in the advancement and efficiency of mental health services, their continued to be a pervasive set of barriers limiting the level of success in assisting those members of minority groups that have been diagnosed with a mental disorder. Social work practitioners must be at the forefront and exert tremendous effort to alleviate or minimize the effects of mental disorders and in every way possible seek out and eliminate every barrier that hinders the treatment of mental illness. Identifying the various types of barriers to mental illness treatment is a daunting task, but is essential in the continued improvement of attitudes, beliefs, techniques, policies, interventions, funding, quality of service, knowledge, and other areas that promote overall health and well being for those minority individuals diagnosed with a mental illness and their caregivers (World Health Organization, 2007). History
Mental illness has been around as long as...