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Scholars Day: April 10, 2013

The Current Gap in the Spectrum of Mental Health Service

The intention of this study is to investigate the current state of mental health care and identify a potential gap in the availability of mental health services. In its current form, the structure of mental health provides several effective and well researched forms of therapy. However, due to high costs, many people cannot afford the luxury of one-on-one therapy sessions with a trained professional. Group therapy exists as an alternative form of therapy by providing a research supported approach conducted by a qualified therapist at a lesser cost than one-on-one sessions. Even still, the cost and commitment required for group therapy still alienates a substantial amount of people, forcing potential clients in need of some level of psychiatric help to less legitimate methods. American’s alone spend 11 billion dollars on self-help books yearly, and while such books are cheap, convenient, and readily available, there is no evidence to support their effectiveness. This would suggest that there exists a need for an intermediate level of mental health service on the spectrum between self-help books and group therapy. Through the Internet, this need for an intermediate level of care has been expressed. Information used in this study will be drawn from an internet website named “Meetup.com;” a social networking site utilized to connect users with a shared geographic location and form offline groups based on mutual needs or interests. Many of these groups were formed in the interest of providing mental health services, by qualified and unqualified group leaders alike. Data was compiled on such groups from ten metropolitan areas across the United States in order to examine the existing need for intermediate levels of informal or group based services currently being provided. The results of this study showed a substantial number of “Meetup.com” users were receiving some form of mental health services. However, in many cases, the practitioners providing the therapy were not licensed or qualified to do so. These results demonstrate a need in the mental health community for an intermediate level of therapy that is not only cost effective and readily available, but supported by scientific research as well.

Presenter: David LaMantia (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Psychology
Location: 216 Hartwell
Time: 1:45 pm (Session III)
Please note that presentation times are approximate. If you are interested in attending sessions with multiple presentations, please be in the room at the start of the session.