Expanding The Continuum of Mental Health Care

Rowan Tuffs

All about the Current Stagnation of Care in Mental Health Services, and How the Implementation of Innovative Treatments Can Generate Positive Change

The sad reality facing many people who seek help for serious mental health problems is that it is often not feasible for them to regularly have access to affordable, effective care. One of the greater contributors behind this current phenomenon is the stigma against neurodiversity and how that influences those who struggle with mental illness to refuse to acknowledge the severity of their situation.

Though almost one-third of worldwide disability is attributed to mental illnesses present in adult health issues, mainstream thought tends to gloss over the messy complications that come with psychological disorders. This is not a feasible way for mental health care to be treated and does more to damage its current operations within our society, which already require major renovations.   

Improvements must be made if the field of mental health care wishes to stay relevant in the world of modern psychiatric problems. Specific points that will be explored in an effort to revamp mental health care include the following:

  • Why current psychiatric services and treatment options are not adequate solutions for a variety of mental health and depressive mood disorders
  • How incorporating innovative treatment methods can positively influence the results of mental health services
  • Integrating mental health services into primary care settings will provide increased accessibility for those who struggle obtaining specialized care  

Restructuring Mental Health Care

Why The Current Approach Is Not Enough

The current model of psychotherapeutic treatment that dominates the domain of mental health care is insufficient in addressing the complexity of mental illness and other serious psychiatric disorders. Though there has been an increase in the availability of medications to combat certain disorders over the past several decades, the high costs and limited success of medical intervention act as a deterrent against seeking treatment.

Severe mental health issues that affect individuals across various age groups and cultural backgrounds include major depressive disorder, bipolar and personality disorders, substance abuse disorders, and psychosis. Many elements contribute to an individual’s ability to attend routine therapeutic visits in an effort to address severe mental health concerns, and factors such as socioeconomic status, perceived social stigma, and lack of integration between primary care facilities, and specialized mental health services all play a part in ineffective treatment.

Among populations especially vulnerable to the detrimental effects of mental health are minorities, elderly individuals, low income families, residents of rural or semi-rural areas, and those with insufficient insurance coverage. In underdeveloped and developed countries alike, allowing mental illness to fester contributes to a range of serious social issues, including humanitarian concerns such as poverty and war.   

A woman holds her head
The current model of mental health care has limited efficacy and must be revamped to continue addressing serious psychiatric conditions among multiple demographics.

Regarding Major Depressive Disorder

Depression is the elephant in the room that always makes an appearance in discussions about mental health, though it never receives the acknowledgement it deserves. If you struggle with a depressed mood, or have experienced symptoms in the past, then you are probably aware of the lackadaisical attitude that people have in regards to recognizing depression for the serious disorder it is. 

As frustrating as dismissal can be, an even larger concern should be had for the collective reliance that the mental health care field has developed in regards to antidepressant usage. For individuals who have struggled with major depressive disorder for an extended period of time, typical medications might not be strong enough to adequately address the mental illness present.

Alternative Treatments

Yellow pill capsules in a foil container
Antidepressants are not always the appropriate solution. Other treatment methods, such as TMS and ketamine therapy, offer innovative approaches to managing mental illness. 

In an effort to expand the options of treatment available in the realm of mental health care for the sake of psychotherapeutic development, innovative approaches must be explored to analyze their efficacy. The current system relies too heavily upon antidepressants to be a cure all for major depressive disorder when research has revealed pharmacologic dependency to be a limited solution, thus failing to sufficiently help many patients. 

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has gained a recent popularity boost in regards to the treatment of depressed mood disorders whose symptoms have shown no or limited signs of improvement. As a noninvasive procedure that operates on the basis of stimulating neural cells in the brain via intermittent electromagnetic pulses, TMS has a reputation for producing results that are both more persistent and effective than prescription antidepressants

Another option for addressing depressed mood and various other psychiatric disorders exists within ketamine intravenous infusion therapy. As a more contemporary approach to mental illness management, more research must be conducted in order to better comprehend the effects of ketamine based therapy. However, current knowledge suggests ketamine can help mitigate a depressed mood better than some antidepressants. 

Approaching Other Areas of Mental Health Care

First Episode Psychosis

Psychosis is a debilitating psychiatric disorder that impacts your perception of reality, making it difficult to discern what is real and what isn’t. Symptoms of first episode psychosis commonly manifest as having unusual persistent thoughts, strange beliefs, disconnection from reality, and emotional dysfunction.  

Adequately managing the disruptions caused by psychosis is a challenging task, but seeking out preventative care soon after the initial symptoms appear generally yields the most effective treatment results. Knowing what serves as a catalyst for the initial psychotic episode is also an important step in treating the disorder. Possible contributing factors include:

  • Traumatic events like sexual assault or war
  • Physical illness or injury
  • Genetics
  • Substance abuse
  • Other mental health conditions and disorders

Geriatric Care

A man and woman holding each other and laughing
Mental health services are underutilized by older adults due to many obstacles that stand in the way of attaining effective treatment. 

Sadly, many elderly patients do not receive ample care when it comes to mental illness and psychiatric disorders. A combination of challenging factors such as limited income and accessibility deter older adults from seeking treatment, contributing to the influx of unmediated mental health issues that persist within these communities.

Perhaps the most direct solution to this problem dwells in the prospect of obtaining appropriate care for the psychiatric needs of patients. To achieve this, the contemporary approach to finding treatment for mental illness must change. 

Rather than rely solely upon referrals and divided care, more primary care practitioners should be educated in basic mental health etiquette and provide integrated techniques. Taking this route would eliminate the struggle that comes with following up referrals, enabling geriatric patients to access care without as much hassle.    


The traditional approach to mental health treatment is not a sustainable solution for the future of psychological services. Many aspects concerning the field of mental health must be appropriately assessed and evaluated based on the outcomes they produce. 

To better help vulnerable individuals, we must determine alternative treatment methods that will be beneficial in the long run, and move away from traditional approaches that are unable to yield efficient results.

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