Science of maintaining mental health and preventing disorders to help people function at their full mental potential. It includes all measures taken to promote and preserve mental health: rehabilitation of the mentally disturbed, prevention of mental illness, and aid in coping in a stressful world. Community mental health acknowledges the relation between mental health, population pressures, and social unrest. It also deals with social problems, from drug addiction to suicide prevention. Treatment of the mentally ill through the ages has ranged from neglect, ill treatment, and isolation to active treatment and integration into the community, often in response to crusading reformers. Prevention of mental illness includes prenatal care, child-abuse awareness programs, and counseling for crime victims. Treatment includes psychotherapy, drug therapy, and support groups. One of the most important efforts is public education to combat the stigma still attached to mental illness and encourage those affected to seek treatment.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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