Will the Rates of Psychiatric Disorders Go Up, Down, or Stay the Same?
In simple words, we view reality in terms of our own experience that is influenced by primary groups (Family and Friends); secondary groups (School, religious institutions, and government), and mass media. While the influence of the primary group is waning and the secondary groups are time limited, the influence of mass media is increasing as it is a pervasive and permanent fixture of our lives. The influence of mass media increases when the number and strength of the other sources of influence decrease. There is no longer debate about the impact of the media on the thinking, behavior, and emotions of the general population. In addition, the effects may be pro-social or even anti-social. Mass media serve as socializing agents that aids in construction and perpetuation of perceptions and learned behaviors. Serving as a central source of information, mass media not only reflect public attitudes and values but also take part in shaping them. The effects of mass media are partly unintentional due to news and entertainment programs. However, the media also do this intentionally for monetary gain (by advertisements), achieving social good (sponsored programs), or political purpose (biased or “paid” news). Media have played a role in breaking down misconceptions and myths about homosexuality, leprosy, and HIV/AIDS. It is hoped that it can do the same for psychiatric disorders. The media contribute to mental illness stigma through the exaggerated, inaccurate, and comical images, they use to portray persons with psychiatric disorders as well as providing incorrect information about mental illness. Two mass communication theories, cultivation theory, and social learning theory work in tandem to influence the construction and perpetuation of mental illness stigma. Cultivation theory proposes that those who spend more time “living” in the virtual world of television may perceive the “real world” as per the imagery, principles, and portrayals depicted on the small screen. People who spend a lot of time watching television are likely to assume a television worldview of mental illness.
Because the functional impact of symptom‐defined disorders depends on factors extrinsic to those disorders, such as self‐efficacy, resilience, coping ability, social support, cultural and social expectations, as well as the responsibilities related to one's primary role function and the availability of others to assume those responsibilities, we argue that the severity of such disorders should be defined independently from functional impairment. The determination of illness severity has important clinical implications. Depending on the disorder, severity affects decisions to seek treatment, the type and intensity of treatment, and whether to continue or stop treatment (Zigmond AS, Snaith RP., 1983). Severity also impacts expectations in the fulfillment of role function and disability status. Measures of severity are used to evaluate outcome in treatment studies and may be used as meaningful endpoints in clinical practice.
The poorer countries have small health budgets, from which they spend a lower percentage on mental health, resulting in very few resources being available. Poor provision of mental health care results in poor outcomes, avoidable relapses and insufficient rehabilitation.
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