Thursday, May 21, 2009

Social and medical model of disability - "caregivers" are excluded for mental illness problems

I took this excerpt from the review, of the book great "Rethinking the Sociology of Mental Illness" organized by Joan Busfield. It's about the the difference of the concept "disability" in medical and in sociological fields.

"Julie Mulvany’s paper “Disability, impairment or illness” compares the work of sociologists on mental illness with the work of sociologists on disability. In disability studies, the medical model of disability, in which the person with a disability is seen as having a deficit and therefore being less able to participate in the world, is contrasted with the social model of disability, in which a person with functional impairments of mind or body is seen as disabled by the ways society has excluded people with such differences from the practices of ordinary life. Mulvany argues that sociologists of mental illness have a great deal to learn from the social theory of disability, and her argument is a rich one. She faults disability studies for paying little attention to psychiatric illness, and does a great job at building bridges between the two areas of study. She writes without resorting to jargon and gives a strong argument for her main claim." (emphasis mine)

If the person is excluded from social life there's no room left for any other treatment other than medical.
However it's well known that many people who are depressed or suffering any kind of mental problem are alone at their homes or at mental institutions with no help from their families. People at mental institutions just receive the chemical or electrical treatments and governments think that their job is done and giving them occupational therapy or the visit of social workers and any kind of other coping strategy is waste of time and money. The concept of "caregiver", which helps many people who suffer from many diseases, means nothing when mental illness is the problem. The stigma, yes, stigma this word that explains and put an end to the discussion, that any person who has ever visited a psychiatrist is amazing. When a person has a mild depression s/he no longer is seen as capable even in what they are and has to fight not only the disease but reclaim their dignity on a daily basis. Hard work. It would be great if "caregiver" could reach those who are suffering not only a emotional and their disabilities.

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