The article discusses the actual problem of social support for people with mental health problems, which has an important place in the study field of social psychology and social work.The article also deals with the definition of the concept of “mental health”, the problem of introducing the term “mental health problems” as a way to avoid stigmatization, and the spread of a humanistic attitude to persons with a psychiatric diagnosis. It also discussed modern theoretical approaches that offer an understanding of the contribution of biological, social, and psychological factors into the cause of mental health problems.
The problem of mental illness is common to all countries of the world, as WHO data evidenced the number of people with mental disorders among the world’s population, ranging from 4–5 %. According to researchers P. Voloshin and N. Maruta, the spread of mental and behavioral disorders in Ukraine is characterized by a slow increase of about 2.9 % in every 10 years. Researchers argue that in subsequent years, according to the prognostic data, there will be an increase in these indicators. The issue of providing social support to people with PDS in Ukrainian society is very relevant, which is complicated by their social isolation in the process of recovery after the treatment. The results of scientific research in the context of different cultures and relatively diverse life events (hospitalization, mental illness, unemployment, old age) generally confirm the positive results of using social support to promote mental and physical health. Instead, there are no studies in Ukrainian science related to the phenomenon of social support of people with mental health problems.
It is important to define the concepts of “mental health” and “mental health problems” in the process of studying the features of social support for people with mental health problems. The term “mental health” combines the medical and psychological fields of science and practice, but modern psychology offers a comprehensive approach to assessing the psychological health of a person, the psychological norm, its limits, taking into account the criteria of mental health. The description of the mental health given by the Psychological Dictionary points out the components of awareness and the sense of continuity, continuity and identity of their physical and mental “I”; sense of continuity and identity of experiences in similar situations; critical to yourself and your mental activity and its results; the adequacy of psychic reactions of force and frequency of environmental influences; the ability to manage their behavior in accordance with social norms; planning personal activities and implementing them; changing the way of behavior depending on the changing circumstances of life.
The concept of “mental health problem” was taken as a term that denotes all the symptoms classified in ICD-10 and DSM-IV, which are recommended by experts to clients for appropriate treatment and care. Scientists and mental health practitioners point out that mental health problems can affect the way an individual thinks, feels, and behaves; affects self-service, fulfills professional duties, social, family roles, and household behavior, which is usually deeply affected by the quality of life of the individual. Numerous results of the research show that there are specific psychological and personality factors apart from the biological causes of mental disorders (genetic factors that contribute to the imbalance of chemicals in the brain) that make people vulnerable to occurrences of the mental health problems.
Several modern theoretical approaches offer an understanding of the contribution of biological, social, and psychological factors to the induction of mental health problems: the traditional medical model, the rehabilitation model, the interface model, the social model, and the biopsychosocial approach. Only biopsychosocial and social models are consistent with the definition of WHO disability and emphasize the impact social aspects of mental health and the quality of life of people with mental health problems.
Individuals with PPP, as a social community, have specific needs that differentiate them from other members of society, one of which is the need for constant socio-psychological support. So, the contribution of psychology and social work to the quality of life of people with mental disorder lies in the application of professional approaches and methods based on the biopsychosocial (social) model, which emphasize the need for socio-psychological support. An example of such a technique is the model of modern social work practice “people-in-environment”, which serves as a guiding principle of social work and emphasizes the importance of understanding the persons with disorder and their behavior in the light of the multiple context of the social environment in which these persons live and act. Specialists of social work and psychology make interventions at three levels: individual, at the family level, and at the community level, by means of intensifying the support of the environment within the cognitive-behavioral and other approaches, which contribute to the process of reintegrating people with mental health problems into community.