Flags as a New Assessment of Mental Health Status

Article excerpt

Mental health is examined from a social-psychological perspective based on years of clinical experience in USA and some Arab countries. Three hundred and fifty-two participated to examine the validity and the reliability of this new instrument. Eleven social-psychological variables, integrated with five central emotions, make up the FLAGS assessment, which proved to have strength and dependability.

The human act is predicated upon a multidimensional component; physical, instinctual and mental. The mental dimension is composed of cognition and emotion, which make up the mind (Horley & Little, 1985; Izard, Kagan & Zajonc 1984). Mind is defined in this work as a social process that stems out of social interaction (Fatayer, 2000). Hence Mental Health Status (MHS) refers to the functioning and performance of the mind as it impacts on human living arrangement (Kruskal & Wish, 1978). It is understood that the human act is a byproduct of the interaction between the physical, instinctual and mental components .

Based on 15 years of experience as a clinical sociologist in the area of mental health in the USA the and in Egypt the author contends that mental health is mainly a social-psychological topic (Cantril 1967; Kanagwa, Cross, & Markus, 2000). The author argues that a great deal of confusion between physical and mental matters in handling mental health problems has led to poor performance and serious consequences (Mowrer & McCarver, 2002).

This work intends to contribute to the making of a more efficient model by introducing a newly developed and challenging assessment tool, namely FLAGS (Kruskal & Wish, 1978).

FLAGS: A NEWLY DEVELOPED MENTAL HEALTH PARADIGM

FLAGS - the name of the scale - was originated to sum up five major human emotions which, the author contends, have a particular impact on mental health status. These emotions are fear, loneliness, anger, guilt and sadness. The author argues that these emotions partially demonstrate an instrument to assess the MHS of the person.

The following section presents a brief description of the five emotions that make up the FLAGS paradigm.

This author argues that fear is an inevitable human emotion. He sees three brands of fear. (A) perceptual fear is a type that is felt through the senses. Newborn babies as well as animals tend to demonstrate this kind of fear. They feel and respond to stimuli without reasoning or need to rationalize. This type of fear has least impact on human mental health. (B) conceptual fear is a type that is felt as an emotion through reasoning only. Fear of examinations is an example. (C) conceptual-perceptual fear is a fear that is generated through the senses and then reasoned in the mind. A 3a.m, knock on the door when nobody is expected could be a good example. It is argued that types B & C are the most common fears that impact on our MHS (Bhui, Chandra, & Sathyamorthy, 2002; Hunts, Cole, & Reis, 1998)

This author argues that fear could have positive consequences when it is turned into an action motivator. No one is fear-free. Too much fear could lead to mental paralysis while too little of it could lead to serious ramifications. Fear plays the role of a normative mechanism that society counts on.

Loneliness is a basic human emotion. It stems out of our nature as social beings. Animals tend not to demonstrate such an emotion due to their nature. To feel lonely, then, is to realize the emotional vacuum that exists between you and others who are meaningful to you (Loos, 2002).

Having others in our life is no option, thus, loneliness is an inevitable emotion that varies among us by the degree and not by the quality. Loneliness is equal to an emotional freezing; of which a human can sustain only so much. Loneliness reflects a curfew in our emotional traffic, an emotional bankruptcy by which we could be threatened by. Having Others in our life generates emotional warmth and a support that is irreplaceable. …