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This chapter addresses the gap between community psychology’s original social action focus and the current status of the literature. It concludes that the field has moved away from its original drive of social action and community empowerment, leaving a disconnection between community psychology’s initial aspirations (e.g., social justice, empowerment, community support) and the reality of the field in terms of theoretical, research, and practice output. Changing the community psychology narrative, as operationalized by the previous chapters, is deemed necessary so that community psychologists can further engage in reflexivity about power dynamics and privilege, consider sociopolitical aspects of communities, and participate in interdisciplinary collaboration both domestically and transnationally. Critical areas needed to change the community psychology narrative are presented. These include: diversifying theoretical approaches; diversifying research approaches and methods; making practice more accessible through the development of community mental health care that addresses the needs of diverse groups; incorporating a participatory pedagogy in teaching; and restructuring tenure and promotion processes so that collaboration, transnational work, and nonquantitative approaches are rewarded.
This comprehensive handbook provides community psychology approaches to addressing the key issues that impact individuals and their communities worldwide. Featuring international, interdisciplinary perspectives from leading experts, the handbook tackles critical contemporary challenges. These include climate change, immigration, educational access, healthcare, social media, wellness, community empowerment, discrimination, mental health, and many more. The chapters offer case study examples to present practical applications and to review relevant implications within diverse contexts. Throughout, the handbook considers how community psychology plays out around the world: What approaches are being used in different countries? How does political context influence the development and extension of community psychology? And what can nations learn from each other as they examine successful community psychology-based interventions? This is essential reading for researchers, students, practitioners, and policy makers involved with community well-being.
There is debate in the political sphere regarding the level at which climate change will have an impact on the earth. In the scientific community there is little debate, but this thought does not necessarily trickle down to the average layperson. Many believe that this disconnect is due to misinformation campaigns through the late 1990s. Climate change is a vast social and health issue that affects communities all over the world differently. Different areas of the world with varied resources and support will fare differently as climate change continues to change the land, making climate change a social justice concern. However, it is possible to improve climate change by focusing resources on human behavior, psychology, and sustainability.
Sexual orientation is considered from Savin-Williams’ continuum perspective, and gender and sexual orientation are both conceptualized from a fluid, rather than a categorical viewpoint. A Minority Stress Model is applied to the experience of LGBTQ+ communities, whereby stress reactions relate to concerns about one’s safety, discrimination, oppression, and internalized oppression, among many other negative mental and physical health outcomes. Proximal and distal stressors are presented in conjunction with the Minority Stress Model and applied to several domains illustrating community gaps and interventions in academic, legislative, religious, economic, medical, social, and social-environmental realms. Key policies are presented supporting greater rights for LGBTQ+ communities. Despite these advances, significant gaps remain with regard to responsiveness to the needs of LGBTQ+ communities. A case study highlights adverse effects and policy regarding conversion therapy.
This chapter focuses on the consumer recovery movement. A brief history of key events that have supported the consumer recovery movement in the USA is provided. A definition of recovery is provided along with consideration of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) guiding principles for recovery. Mental health-related stigma is discussed as a barrier to the consumer recovery movement and the access and utilization of mental health services in general. An interview with the Director of The Carter Center’s Mental Health Program is provided to demonstrate programmatic examples of the consumer recovery movement in action. The chapter concludes with a discussion of key current policies and future directions for research and practice.
We take a community psychology approach to understanding how social media affects community populations. Community psychology must always be advancing as the Internet and social media become more intertwined in users’ everyday lives. We consider the history of the rise in social media use, examining the timeline of different platforms and their purposes. The Internet is discussed as being a means of social interaction and connection, used to relate to others who share interests and experiences, or who are far away. Despite this, social media can negatively affect populations in terms of mental health. Increased use of cyberbullying has been linked with an increase in depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self harm, and suicidal ideation for those who are at risk. The term FoMO describes decreased life satisfaction as a result of inherent social comparisons online. On the other hand, social media platforms provide a helpful, supportive space for people to share their stories and knowledge. The literature on community psychology needs to incorporate greater focus on social media given its prominence in today’s society. The information, images, and representations we view affect our discourse regarding people, cultures, policies, and anything else that may affect individual lives.
This introductory chapter underscores how the events of 2020 remind us of the importance of community. It discusses how the experience of COVID-19 shows how we are connected across the globe. At the same time, the chapter addresses the differential impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. The chapter talks about how the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd highlight national and transnational concerns with police brutality and racial profiling. These realities introduce questions such as: What does it mean to belong to a community? How do systemic racism and discrimination interfere with belongingness, access to freedom, and even life and survival? How can communities push macro-level change in the face of systemic oppression? A brief history of community psychology and a review of key competencies are provided. A rationale and overall introduction to the book is included.