Psychiatric Rehabilitation: An Effective Strategy for Including People with Severe Mental Illness
People with severe mental illness (SMI) continue to find themselves being denied full participation in family, normal social activities, and productive employment. Some of these problems stem from cognitive and/or behavioral dysfunction that result from mental illness. Yet, other missed goals represent the effects of stigma and discrimination. In response to this dilemma, this paper focusses on the philosophy, principles, and practices of psychiatric rehabilitation. The mission of psychiatric rehabilitation is to help people with long-term psychiatric disabilities to increase their functioning so that they may be successful and satisfied in the environment of their choice, with the least amount of ongoing professional intervention. Psychiatric rehabilitation services are designed to help people with SMI to achieve (1) recovery; (2)maximum community integration; and (3) the highest possible quality of life. Traditionally, medication and psychotherapy were the two major treatment approaches. While these methods are still used, a major emphasis is now placed on strengthening client skills and strengthening environmental supports. Psyhiatric rehabilitation practices should be guided by the basic philosophy of rehabilitation, that is, persons with disabilities require skills and environmental supports to fulfill role demands of various living, learning, and working environments.
Keywords: Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Severe Mental Illness, Stigma
Dr. Gregory G. Garske
Professor, School of Intervention Services, Bowling Green State University