“On the 9th October 2023, The World Health Organisation and United Nations collaboratively published their new practical guidelines to move away from the biomedical model of mental health, and instead, focus on the social determinants, oppression, poverty, abuse, violence, and other contextual factors that caused trauma and distress in humans.”
As a structural social worker the owner of a mental health practiced from a non pathologizing lens. This simply means that We believe that everything makes sense in the context of someone's life. There is nothing inherently wrong with someone if they are struggling, their feelings and behaviours make perfect sense. While working in the healthcare system, I became very critical of the medical model of diagnosis because I could see people in a holistic way, taking in consideration many factors that accompany their mental health symptoms and behaviors. The model can lead to diagnosing half the world with disorders when what they are experiencing is part of regular life. We wanted to label any uncomfortable emotion, making people feel like they are "messed up"
It is my core belief that the human experience is messy, if you are struggling you are actually very normal. Anyone facing stressful events would likely have similar emotions. Many things we experience are normal reactions to a difficult human experience. Everyday life can be tough. When difficult life events happen, things like breakups, illness, or job loss – we typically find it difficult to cope. What's most important is that you can allow yourself to feel these feelings as they come up and learn to navigate them in a healthy way. You should not feel shame or like you are broken or flawed. Because you aren't, regardless of what people may have told you in the past.
When I was working within the medical model, I was fighting this battle daily, of trying to help others see that there was a lot more below the surface of the symptoms someone was presenting with, both physical and mental. I remember trying to help treat someone's anxiety symptoms when they didn't have stable housing and were in an abusive relationship. This person isn't inherently anxious, they were trying to survive and their anxiety was serving a protective function for them. Meeting this person's need for housing and a secure relationship base was the natural first goal.
We know that there are many factors that influence mental health and wellbeing and these can't be ignored. It is so encouraging to see this significant shift away from the biomedical model of mental health, finally seeing things with a much broader lens, as I meet too many people in my practice who deeply believe something is wrong with them, when often they are simply experiencing appropriate reactions to difficult experiences.
Reach out to us if you would like to see a therapist to help you navigate difficult human experiences
Call (506) 651-1239 or BOOK ONLINE