An Applied Treatment Model for Serious Mental Illness

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Why So Serious ?

Our current edition of the psychiatric diagnostic manual contains 157 discrete diagnoses that span 20 mental disorder nomenclatures or categories of mental illness. While each of the disorders represented in the diagnostic manual is a matter to be taken seriously, the research literature designates a particular block of these nomenclatures as “serious mental illness” or SMI. The justification for such grouping and classification  lies in the functional impairment caused by these mental illnesses in particular. Functional impairment can be thought of as a significant impairment in one’s ability to navigate the social order via tasks and activities that are considered normative or conventional (e.g., gainful employment, completing educational requirements, the ability to have and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships, etc.). While any of the 157 mental disorders can reach the level of SMI, research suggests that approximately 90% of SMI is comprised by the triad of bipolar and related disorders, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorder, and depressive disorders.  How can we understand this linkage amongst disorders that on the surface appear so disparate? And how can we make practical use of this clinical understanding?


Answering these 2 questions is the subject of our upcoming series. Over the course of 4 modules, members from our clinical team will guide clinicians, professionals in other helping fields, students as well as parents and loved ones of those struggling with SMI in our one-of-a-kind treatment approach. 


Not just for clinicians  

One of the unique aspects of our series is that it is aimed at educating professionals in other helping fields as well as the friends, family, and loved ones of those struggling with SMI. Participants will have 2 case presentation opportunities available to them per module in order to consult about a specific case. One will be presented by a clinician and we encourage others in non-clinical roles to present a case as well. Both cases will be presented to MendCenter clinicians as a way of elucidating complex clinical concepts in an applied, practical manner. This will also allow all participants to develop a clearer understanding of The MendCenter’s one-of-a-kind approach to working with SMI. 

If you are interested in presenting a case please email Dr. Garcia directly at

This series is free of charge and complies with the rules established by the Texas Behavioral Health Council regarding continuing education. Proof of attendance will provided in order to use for continuing education hours.