*This post first appeared on Care2Causes in Women’s Rights*
Mental illness and disease are not much different than physical illness or disease. This approach fits squarely in the medical model: there are doctors and hospitals and diagnoses. There are also risk-factors, treatments and morbidity rates.
If you have a problem, most likely, it has a name, whether it’s cancer or diabetes, depression or schizophrenia. “Health” in this model is the absence of illness or disorder, but it is not a measure of the strength, vitality or fitness of your body, mind and spirit.
The medical model is the one most often used when conducting research about abortion and mental health, including the latest study out of Denmark, just published in the New England Journal of Medicine. This significant project confirms (in great detail and with an impressive pool of data) what many researchers have said before: there is no science that shows an abortion causes mental illness.
While I hope this science is a relief to every woman who worried that, after an abortion, she may wake up one day with a life-threatening illness like bulimia, alcoholism, or obsessive compulsive disorder, it is inadequate for understanding the scope and depth of a woman’s emotional experience when it comes to abortion.
That’s why it is so important to understand the difference between the medical model that’s focused on reducing disease and the well-being model focused on health promotion; what these differences mean for scientific research; and, eventually, what they mean for the development, adoption and promotion of strategies that can effectively enhance the emotional health of women who have had abortions. (more…)