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Community Psychology is defined by Psychology wiki as an approach to mental health that uses an analysis of social processes and interactions to design social interventions amongst groups and communities to improve psychological wellbeing. Public health is defined as the effort of a society stemming from its commitment to meet and attain its health ideals. (Gilbert,1995) The two approaches have both strengths and weaknesses; they share both useful and problematic ideas which can be used to supplement each other.
The Community Psychology movement developed in the USA during an era when there was growing concern about both the lack of resources and treatment facilities and the impact of social systems on the human psyche. (Seedat et al,1988) Psychologists and other helping professionals began to take note of the effects of social variables like poverty and alienation on mental health. The Public Health movement of 19th century England and USA was stimulated by unhealthy social conditions in both industrialised urban and rural areas. It emerged as a ‘social action’ to combat the spread of infectious diseases. (Gilbert,1995)Professor George Albee also tried to model his thinking after the public health approach, which has demonstrated considerable effectiveness in preventing many diseases as well as socially harmful behaviours.(tutorial letter 102, 2012:pg 5) It is therefore clear that both approaches were influenced by social variables in their historical development.
The mental health model resembles Public health in that it takes into account both individual and environmental factors for pathology and death. It asserts that mental illness is the product of an interaction of both individual and environmental factors. The weakness is that it has not provided a theoretical base for such a conception of pathology.(seedat et al,1988) The new public health is premised upon a holistic understanding of the individual, the community, illness and health as...
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