| By Brigham Narins |
New Edition: The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health, 4th Edition
Mental health is like health generally: everybody needs it, wants it, and deserves it. And while there are great disparities in access to general health care worldwide and in the United States, the situation with mental health care is even more pronounced.
According to Mental Health America, more than half of adults with a mental illness (56.4%) receive no treatment.1 The case with children is even worse: 61.5% of youths with major depression receive no treatment.2 Although the reasons for this unmet need include lack of availability and excessive cost, which also affect access to general health care, a unique impediment to the delivery of mental health care is stigma. People who would never hesitate to seek treatment for anything from a sprained ankle to a heart attack often feel uncomfortable or ashamed when the problem isn’t visible or physically painful.
As The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health, 4th Edition‘s entry on “Stigma” argues, overcoming the stigmatization of mental illness requires education. The 530 entries in this encyclopedia are written with patients, caregivers, and students in mind. The wide range of topics includes conditions, treatments, therapies, drugs, and the mental-health professions. The discussions of conditions reflect the changes that were made in the latest edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the standard text published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) that is used by psychiatrists, psychologists, researchers, drug regulating agencies, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and the legal system. The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health, 4th Edition has also added many new entries since the last edition, including: Attachment theory, Criminogenic risk, Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), Geriatric psychiatry, Health disparities, and the Mental Health Parity Act.
The field of mental health care is changing, and access to treatment is slowly improving.3 The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health, 4th Edition documents the changes and will be part of the force of improvement.
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1 “Access to mental health care.” Mental Health America. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/issues/mental-health-america-access-care-data (accessed December 3, 2018).