Special Issue "Mental Health and its Social and Cultural Implications"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 April 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Sami Pirkola
Website
Guest Editor
Professor of Social Psychiatry, Faculty of Social Sciences, Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Arvo Ylpön katu 34, Tampere FI-33014, Finland

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue on “Mental Health and its Social and Cultural Implications” in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The venue is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes articles and communications in the interdisciplinary area of environmental health sciences and public health. For detailed information on the journal, we refer you to https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph.  

Mental health is a major public health- and a service system issue all around the world. There is an emerging need to prioritize it in agendas in both developed and developing countries. Among the illnesses, mental health disturbances involve the highest losses of quality of life and functioning, and these disturbances affect strongly the people’s ability to connect and cope with societal stress. At the largest, their impact extends to family generations as well as personal social networks and society as a whole.

In this Special Issue of the journal, we aim at providing insight regarding the mental health needs of people in societies that often are in transition of some kind. Mental health services and social policy affect the well being and productivity of populations in all countries. Poor living conditions, discrimination and lack of support is increasing the burden of mental illnesses worldwide, but the developing countries have to struggle in particular to find political interest and effective services for mental health.

Related research could include service system evaluation, register studies, ecological research, and reporting community service interventions and innovations. Mental disorders epidemiology as well as global reports on mortality and other outcomes could also contribute to this issue. Transcultural psychiatry is obviously a special focus of interest.

This Special Issue is open to any subject area related to the impacts of mental health on both individual and societal wellbeing in our time. The listed keywords suggest just a few of the many possibilities.

Prof. Dr. Sami Pirkola
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Mental health
  • Mental disorders
  • Mental health services
  • Effectiveness of services
  • Transcultural psychiatry
  • Socioeconomic disadvantage
  • Health and social policy
  • Quality of life
  • Discrimination
  • Societal stress
  • Social wellbeing
  • Psychiatric epidemiology

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Loneliness and Health Service Utilization among the Rural Elderly in Shandong, China: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1468; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071468 - 11 Jul 2018
Cited by 12
Abstract
Objectives: To examine the prevalence of loneliness and to explore the association between loneliness and health service utilization among the rural elderly in Shandong Province, China. Methods: A total of 5514 rural people aged 60 and above from Shandong Province, China, were enrolled [...] Read more.
Objectives: To examine the prevalence of loneliness and to explore the association between loneliness and health service utilization among the rural elderly in Shandong Province, China. Methods: A total of 5514 rural people aged 60 and above from Shandong Province, China, were enrolled in this study. Loneliness was used as a binary variable based on a single-item question. Health service utilization was measured by recent two-week physician visits and annual hospitalizations rates. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to examine the association between loneliness and health service utilization. Results: The prevalence of loneliness among the rural elderly in Shandong, China, was 25.0%. Loneliness was associated with higher rates of recent two-week physician visits (OR = 1.260, p < 0.01) and annual hospitalizations (OR = 1.183, p < 0.05). The regression results also showed that self-rated health status and chronic conditions were significant and positively associated with both physician visits and hospitalizations rates. Conclusions: Loneliness had a significant association with higher odds of health service utilization among the elderly. The independent contribution of loneliness on health service utilization was smaller than self-rated health status and chronic conditions. Thus, healthcare policies need to shift from an emphasis on controlling health utilization and cost to a greater focus on enabling lonely older people to get more social support. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and its Social and Cultural Implications)
Open AccessArticle
Constructing the Elements of the “Recovery in” Model through Positive Assessments during Mental Health Home Visits
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1441; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071441 - 09 Jul 2018
Abstract
The study provides a categorization of the different elements of the “recovery in” model (RIM). The objective is to analyze elements of RIM in positive assessments during home visit interactions. RIM approaches mental illness as a long-term condition that people live with in [...] Read more.
The study provides a categorization of the different elements of the “recovery in” model (RIM). The objective is to analyze elements of RIM in positive assessments during home visit interactions. RIM approaches mental illness as a long-term condition that people live with in their daily lives in their communities. The model emphasizes the rights of all citizens to be full members of their communities regardless of their mental health problems or other difficulties. Positive assessments are professionals’ encouraging evaluations of the activities, situations, or inner conditions expressed by the clients. They are essential in creating supportive professional-client communication. The data analyzed in this study consists of 17 audio-recorded home visits of 10 different clients. Home visits were provided by a mental health floating support service in 2012. The data was analyzed using coding and ethnomethodological interaction research (EIR). As a result RIM is divided into two upper-categories: “Encouraging Doing the Right Thing” and “Encouraging the Right Kind of Personal Growth”. These categories include a wide spectrum of elements that are relevant for the client’s agency in the community. The elements embed the client’s performance in everyday routines and the client’s progress in becoming a skillful, knowledgeable, and involved agent in the community. The categorization of the elements of RIM could be used in educating practitioners to identify and operationalize RIM in mental health home visits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and its Social and Cultural Implications)
Open AccessArticle
The Association between Mental Wellbeing, Levels of Harmful Drinking, and Drinking Motivations: A Cross-Sectional Study of the UK Adult Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1333; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071333 - 25 Jun 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Mental well-being and excessive alcohol consumption each represent a significant public health concern, and evidence suggests an association between them. Furthermore, drinking motivations associated with harmful drinking have been studied, but not systematically in the UK population. A representative sample of 6174 UK [...] Read more.
Mental well-being and excessive alcohol consumption each represent a significant public health concern, and evidence suggests an association between them. Furthermore, drinking motivations associated with harmful drinking have been studied, but not systematically in the UK population. A representative sample of 6174 UK adults aged 18–75 were surveyed online. Low risk drinkers were found to have higher mental well-being than hazardous, harmful, and, probable, dependence drinkers. Using a hierarchical multiple regression analysis, it was found that just over 5% of the variance in well-being scores was accounted for by the level of harmful drinking and drinking motivation; the most significant contribution was drinking to cope. Among people drinking to cope, those drinking in more harmful ways were statistically significantly more likely to have low well-being compared to less harmful drinkers. In the UK adult population there is a clear association between poor mental well-being and harmful drinking. Furthermore, coping was a significant motivation to drink for many with low mental well-being. While mental well-being was found to be directly linked with levels of harmful drinking, the motivation for drinking was a stronger predictor of mental well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and its Social and Cultural Implications)
Open AccessArticle
Impact of the Familiar Environment in 11–14-Year-Old Minors’ Mental Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1314; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071314 - 23 Jun 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
The analysis of the mental health in children under 14 years has become a research topic of global interest where the family can be a key factor for protection or risk against mental health problems. With this work, we intend to determine, employing [...] Read more.
The analysis of the mental health in children under 14 years has become a research topic of global interest where the family can be a key factor for protection or risk against mental health problems. With this work, we intend to determine, employing binary logistic regression analysis, whether parental acceptance-rejection perceived by boys and girls can predict their mental health. Seven hundred sixty-two students participated, the average age was 12.23 years; 53.8% (n = 410) girls and 46.2% (n = 352) boys. We have used the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), self-reported version and the Affection Scale children version (EA-H) for parental acceptance-rejection to assess mental health. The odds ratio (OR) of the logistic models reports that there is a greater probability of having mental health problems in boys and girls when they perceive that they are highly criticized and rejected by their parents. With our work, we highlight the importance of the environment and family affection on mental health. The perception of the children about the rejection, aversion, and criticism of their parents constitutes a risk factor in the manifestation of mental health problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and its Social and Cultural Implications)
Open AccessArticle
The Social Nature of Perceived Illness Representations of Perinatal Depression in Rural Uganda
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1197; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061197 - 07 Jun 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
While the global health community advocates for greater integration of mental health into maternal health agendas, a more robust understanding of perinatal mental health, and its role in providing integrated maternal health care and service delivery, is required. The present study uses the [...] Read more.
While the global health community advocates for greater integration of mental health into maternal health agendas, a more robust understanding of perinatal mental health, and its role in providing integrated maternal health care and service delivery, is required. The present study uses the Illness Representation Model, a theoretical cognitive framework for understanding illness conceptualisations, to qualitatively explore multiple stakeholder perspectives on perinatal depression in rural Uganda. A total of 70 in-depth interviews and 9 focus group discussions were conducted with various local health system stakeholders, followed by an emergent thematic analysis using NVivo 11. Local communities perceived perinatal depression as being both the fault of women, and not. It was perceived as having socio-economic and cultural causal factors, in particular, as being partner-related. In these communities, perinatal depression was thought to be a common occurrence, and its negative consequences for women, infants and the community at large were recognised. Coping and help-seeking behaviours prescribed by the participants were also primarily socio-cultural in nature. Placing the dynamics and mechanisms of these local conceptualisations of perinatal depression alongside existing gaps in social and health care systems highlights both the need of, and the opportunities for, growth and prioritisation of integrated perinatal biomedical, mental, and social health programs in resource-constrained settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and its Social and Cultural Implications)
Open AccessArticle
A Comparison of Mental Health Care Systems in Northern and Southern Europe: A Service Mapping Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1133; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061133 - 31 May 2018
Cited by 15
Abstract
Mental health services (MHS) have gone through vast changes during the last decades, shifting from hospital to community-based care. Developing the optimal balance and use of resources requires standard comparisons of mental health care systems across countries. This study aimed to compare the [...] Read more.
Mental health services (MHS) have gone through vast changes during the last decades, shifting from hospital to community-based care. Developing the optimal balance and use of resources requires standard comparisons of mental health care systems across countries. This study aimed to compare the structure, personnel resource allocation, and the productivity of the MHS in two benchmark health districts in a Nordic welfare state and a southern European, family-centered country. The study is part of the REFINEMENT (Research on Financing Systems’ Effect on the Quality of Mental Health Care) project. The study areas were the Helsinki and Uusimaa region in Finland and the Girona region in Spain. The MHS were mapped by using the DESDE-LTC (Description and Evaluation of Services and Directories for Long Term Care) tool. There were 6.7 times more personnel resources in the MHS in Helsinki and Uusimaa than in Girona. The resource allocation was more residential-service-oriented in Helsinki and Uusimaa. The difference in mental health personnel resources is not explained by the respective differences in the need for MHS among the population. It is important to make a standard comparison of the MHS for supporting policymaking and to ensure equal access to care across European countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and its Social and Cultural Implications)
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Open AccessArticle
Identifying Local and Centralized Mental Health Services—The Development of a New Categorizing Variable
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1131; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061131 - 31 May 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
The challenges of mental health and substance abuse services (MHS) require shifting of the balance of resources from institutional care to community care. In order to track progress, an instrument that can describe these attributes of MHS is needed. We created a coding [...] Read more.
The challenges of mental health and substance abuse services (MHS) require shifting of the balance of resources from institutional care to community care. In order to track progress, an instrument that can describe these attributes of MHS is needed. We created a coding variable in the European Service Mapping Schedule-Revised (ESMS-R) mapping tool using a modified Delphi panel that classified MHS into centralized, local services with gatekeeping and local services without gatekeeping. For feasibility and validity, we tested the variable on a dataset comprising MHS in Southern Finland, covering a population of 2.3 million people. There were differences in the characteristics of services between our study regions. In our data, 41% were classified as centralized, 37% as local without gatekeeping and 22% as local services with gatekeeping. The proportion of resources allocated to local services varied from 20% to 43%. Reclassifying ESMS-R is an easy way to compare the important local vs. centralized balance of MHS systems globally, where such data exists. Further international studies comparing systems and validating this approach are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and its Social and Cultural Implications)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Depression and Screening for Work Disabilities among Long-Term Unemployed People
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(5), 909; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15050909 - 03 May 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
The study explores whether clinical screening targeted at work disabilities among long-term unemployed people reveals eligible individuals for a disability pension and the importance of depression in granting the disability pensions. A total of 364 participants of the screening project were considered as [...] Read more.
The study explores whether clinical screening targeted at work disabilities among long-term unemployed people reveals eligible individuals for a disability pension and the importance of depression in granting the disability pensions. A total of 364 participants of the screening project were considered as eligible to apply for disability pension. Among them, 188 were diagnosed as clinically depressed. They were classified into those with earlier depression diagnosis (n = 85), those whose depression had not been diagnosed earlier (n = 103), and those without diagnosed depression (n = 176). The association of this ‘Depression identification pattern’ with being granted a disability pension was explored by logistic regression analyses. Compared to those with earlier diagnosis, those whose depression had not been diagnosed earlier were granted disability pension more commonly (72% vs. 54% OR 2.2, p = 0.012). Corresponding figures of the undepressed were 73%, OR 2.3, p = 0.002. The adjustments did not affect the results. Clinical examination of the long-term unemployed people in terms of work disability seems to be worthwhile. In particular, the examination reveals new depression diagnoses, which contribute more to the award of disability pension than depression diagnosed earlier by regular health care. Novel ways to detect depression among the unemployed should be implemented in the health and employment services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and its Social and Cultural Implications)
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Open AccessArticle
Disaster Reintegration Model: A Qualitative Analysis on Developing Korean Disaster Mental Health Support Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 362; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020362 - 18 Feb 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
This study sought to describe the mental health problems experienced by Korean disaster survivors, using a qualitative research method to provide empirical resources for effective disaster mental health support in Korea. Participants were 16 adults or elderly adults who experienced one or more [...] Read more.
This study sought to describe the mental health problems experienced by Korean disaster survivors, using a qualitative research method to provide empirical resources for effective disaster mental health support in Korea. Participants were 16 adults or elderly adults who experienced one or more disasters at least 12 months ago recruited via theoretical sampling. Participants underwent in-depth individual interviews on their disaster experiences, which were recorded and transcribed for qualitative analysis, which followed Strauss and Corbin’s (1998) Grounded theory. After open coding, participants’ experiences were categorized into 130 codes, 43 sub-categories and 17 categories. The categories were further analyzed in a paradigm model, conditional model and the Disaster Reintegration Model, which proposed potentially effective mental health recovery strategies for disaster survivors, health providers and administrators. To provide effective assistance for mental health recovery of disaster survivors, both personal and public resilience should be promoted while considering both cultural and spiritual elements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and its Social and Cultural Implications)
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Open AccessArticle
Mental Health of the Prison Medical Workers (PMWs) and Influencing Factors in Jiangxi, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1459; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121459 - 26 Nov 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
Prison medical workers (PMWs) are critically important, but they are also vulnerable to psychological problems. Currently, there is no study on examining PMWs’ mental health conditions and possible influencing factors in China. Hence, we conducted this cross-sectional survey, aiming to understand the mental [...] Read more.
Prison medical workers (PMWs) are critically important, but they are also vulnerable to psychological problems. Currently, there is no study on examining PMWs’ mental health conditions and possible influencing factors in China. Hence, we conducted this cross-sectional survey, aiming to understand the mental health status of the PMWs and related impact factors in Jiangxi province of China. We employed the Chinese version of the Symptom Checklist-90-R (SCL-90-R) to assess the mental disorders and psychological health conditions of PMWs in Jiangxi. The t tests were used to compare the differences for the average score of SCL-90-R between the Chinese general population and targeted PMWs of this study. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify the main factors associated with overall detection rate of PMWs’ psychological health conditions. The scores of four dimensions (somatization, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, anxiety, and paranoid ideation) were significantly higher than the Chinese national norm, and the total positive rate was 49.09% among the PMWs. Gender, marital status, age, and length of employment are identified to be the most significant predictors to affect PMWs’ mental health. Positive correlations between each of the nine dimensions of the SCL-90-R have been verified. This study demonstrated for the first time that PMWs are facing mental health risk and suffering serious psychological problems with psychopathology symptoms, which has become a growing concern in China. Our current findings suggest a need for more in-depth studies on this subject going forward to validate our conclusions and also to identify more impact factors, since such studies and knowledge of PMWs’ mental health and influencing factors are very limited in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health and its Social and Cultural Implications)
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