What is mental health? What constitutes a mental health problem? What is meant by “positive” mental health? When does a person become an appropriate target of intervention? Where should services be offered? By whom? What interventions are most appropriate? And, can mental health problems be prevented? Answers to these, and related, questions are tied to one’s perspective of mental health. Although different historical eras have approached these questions differently (see Gottesfeld, 1979; Mehr, 1980; Szasz, 1971; Ullmann & Krasner, 1975; Zilboorg & Henry, 1941), contemporary mental health practice is characterized by a plethora of concepts and practices—all operating concurrently and tied to different ideological perspectives.
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