What follows is a detailed analysis of community psychology and public health approaches to social problems. We will be looking at not only the comparisons but also the contrasting elements of the two approaches. Attention will be given to the development of the approaches while we look each approach’s different models.
Community psychology in America was tied up with the mental health reform movements in the USA. The care for the mentally ill in America and other Western countries have been characterized by sporadic reforms, followed by long periods of relative neglect.
The 3 most important reform movements were the Moral treatment in the 1800s, Mental hygiene in the 1900s and ...view middle of the document...
Family members were also encouraged to monitor each other to ensure continuation after the educator left.
Albee’s approach is that the public health approach can be incorporated in community psychology. Seedat et al made similar points, but they tend to be more critical of the factors that attract South African psychologists to the idea of community as well as of community psychology’s theoretical and practical base.
Community psychology continues to develop in South Africa and the broad principles of community psychology informs the development of community based agencies operating in diverse fields such as education, violence prevention, labor, health and community policing. UNISA Health Psychology Unit and Centre for Peace Action is an example of such developments.
Community Psychology alleviated the sense of powerlessness progressive psychologists felt in die face of large scale political upheaval.
The two community psychology models are the mental health and the social action models.
The mental model mainly focusses on prevention while the social action model holds political mobilization and socio economic parity as the pre-requisites for positive psychosocial health.
In both instances the community is the victim. Neither clarifies how to structure the relationship between ‘expert’ and community.
The models for public health is sanitary science, social medicine, community health and the socioecological mode. The community is not seen as the victim in public health, rather the person who needs to be educated so he/she can take care of themselves.