Community Mental Health Service Program Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Mental Disorders

Mental health services for adults and children in Florida are commonly provided by community health facilities and agencies. The use of community health agencies and facilities is providing these services are fueled by the need for an intensive care level to address the increase and impact of mental disorders. Florida State has embraced a framework of directive principles of care as the foundation for providing mental health services to adults and children. However, this framework has been insufficient to effectively deal with mental disorders for children in Jacksonville, Florida. Based on recent statistics, over 20% of children and young people experience the signs and symptoms of these illnesses during the course of a year (Goldhagen, 2006). A comprehensive, integrated community mental health service program is a suitable community-based approach this problem in Jacksonville, Florida.

Description of the Population

Mental disorders have developed to become a major health problem in the recent past to an extent that they account for 15% of the cost of all illnesses across the globe (Winterbauer et. al, 2009). One of the communities with high rates of mental disorders is Jacksonville, Duval County in Florida. It is estimated that more than 62,000 residents in this community suffer from severe or persistent mental illness like Schizophrenia whereas more than 170,000 people suffer from diagnosable mental illness. This situation is despite the adoption of a framework of guiding care principles as the foundation for mental health services throughout Florida including Duval County.

According to the findings of recent surveys, 1 in 4 adults in Jacksonville, Florida suffer from diagnosable mental disorder while 11,000 adults in this community have severe or persistent mental illnesses though they continue to receive public assistance. However, children and young people in Jacksonville are the most vulnerable population to mental disorders since 50% of all severe cases of this disease are evident by 14 years whereas another 25% by 24 years (Buchanan, 2007). Moreover, 26% of children and adolescents in the county experience the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses.

The vulnerability of this population is attributed to various factors including the scarcity of mental health care resources in Jacksonville as well as the limited number of mental health care providers. In addition, the uninsured, the working insured, and the poor in this community have numerous difficulties in accessing mental health services due to inability to afford such care services. The third factor contributing to the vulnerability of this population to mental health disorders is the relatively minimal spending on mental health by Florida State government. Santich (2014), states that Florida State funding for mental health services ranks 49th in the country despite the state's improving economy. The minimal funding has affected the ability of existing mental health services and community initiatives that focus on dealing with mental disorders. In some cases, some community mental-health providers have been forced to close certain units in their health facilities. These factors have also played a crucial role in the increase of crime rates in Jacksonville since people with mental health problems have contributed to increased burden on the criminal justice system in Duval County.

Health Service Needs of this Population

There are various health needs of children and young people with mental disorders in Jacksonville, Florida. First, this population needs access to qualified mental health professionals given that the community has an overburdened system that does not respond to their health needs accurately. The need for access to qualified mental health professionals is attributed to the fact that the shortage in mental health care providers is one of the major factors that enhances the vulnerability of this population. According to Goldhagen (2006), Jacksonville community has a limited access to doctorate level mental health professionals, which affects the ability of the county to adequately address the problem. Secondly, there is need for appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and medication as part of a clinical care framework that specifically focuses on children and young people with mental health disorders. The establishment of suitable diagnosis, treatment, and medication of mental disorders in the community would be part of the continuum of care that will meet the health needs of the population.

The third health need of this population is integration of behavioral health into primary care through a multidisciplinary team approach. This would help in the patient's prognosis for recovery and compliance with other clinical treatment. The integration of behavioral health into primary care is also part of a holistic approach to care model that would help in effective treatment of mental disorders among children and young people. The holistic approach to care model in turn enhances access to mental health treatment and lessens obstacles to treatment since patients are treated in an already familiar environment (Buchanan, 2007).

Fourth, the population needs effective mental health programs, especially in the school system in order to foster the recovery process. The need for effective mental health programs is also fueled by the current duplication and competition among various mental health services providers, which are ineffective. The duplication and competition hinders the ability of these providers to offer timely and effective care as well as the establishment of effective mental health programs. An effective mental health program will also be based on coordination between primary care physicians and mental health providers. This coordination is not present in the community at the moment, which has had considerable effects on the effectiveness of the existing mental health programs.

Model Community Program for the Population

Since Florida has already adopted a mechanism of guiding principle of care as a foundation for children's mental health services, the principles play a significant role in the development and establishment of a model community program for this population. The model program for mental health services to children and young people in Jacksonville, Florida will address the health needs of this population and help deal with the escalating program. The model program will be based on treatment as the continuum of care for providing mental health care services. The focus on treatment in this program is also fueled by the fact that intensive levels of care such as long-term care are provided in state mental health facilities.

The model program will be a community-based mental health care service delivery system that is child-centered and family-driven (Scott & Wilkins, 2013). The treatment interventions to be provided by the model program for the community include individual, family and group interventions, cognitive behavioral approaches, and brief solution focused interventions. The other treatment interventions incorporated in the model program include reality or insight approaches as well as focusing on empowering children and young people to succeed when dealing with the disease. The empowerment will involve educating the population regarding risk factors that contribute to mental disorders, the signs and symptoms of these illnesses, and suitable intervention measures.

The model community-based program for mental health services will provide screening and assessment of children and young people in order to facilitate early detection and treatment of mental health disorders. Screening and assessment will be based on various system principles including individualized, culturally competent, coordinated, and integrated care. These principles will ensure a smooth transition for young people who are transiting to adult mental health system for ongoing age-appropriate services and support. Furthermore, the objective of the empowerment program is to enable patients and families in the community to become self-sufficient and enhance their ability to deal with difficult circumstances in life. As part of a holistic approach of care model for mental disorders among children and young people in Jacksonville, the model program will incorporate additional services that focus on their mental health issues. This approach will enable these patients to live in least restrictive settings or with their families, to develop resilience, and prevent or lessen the occurrence and disabling aspects of the disorders.

Generally, this community program is a comprehensive, integrated model of community health service that incorporates various components like acute and emergency response, assertive rehabilitation teams, community continuing care services, and partnerships with other care practitioners and human agencies (Flannery, Adams & O'Connor, 2011, p.49). The other components of this model include assertive outreach team, development of community alternatives to inpatient care, and care coordination. This comprehensive, integrated model for community mental health services for children and young people in Jacksonville will incorporate the evidence within the current clinical models.

Delivery Modes of Health Services

Given that the model is a comprehensive, integrated model of community mental health services for this population, it will incorporate two major modes of delivery of health services. One of these delivery modes is clinical interventions, which will involve diagnosis and medication management of children and young people with mental disorders. The clinical interventions will be carried out during home visits or at mental health care facilities within the community. The use of clinical interventions as delivery modes of health services is fueled by the significance of diagnosis and medication management in the treatment process (Cohen et. al, 2011, p.6). However, clinical interventions will also entail the…

Sources Used in Document:


Buchanan, D. (2007). Integrating Behavioral Health into Primary Care. Retrieved from University of Nebraska -- Medical Center website:

Cohen et. al. (2011). Three Models of Community Mental Health Services in Low-income

Countries. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 5(3), 1-10. Retrieved from

Flannery, F., Adams, D. & O'Connor, N. (2011, February). A Community Mental Health Service

Cite This Research Paper:

"Community Mental Health Service Program" (2014, November 15) Retrieved July 2, 2020, from

"Community Mental Health Service Program" 15 November 2014. Web.2 July. 2020. <>

"Community Mental Health Service Program", 15 November 2014, Accessed.2 July. 2020,