Influencing Social Change
Psychiatric Nursing and mental health nursing are gaining popularity in the nursing field. Research by Santhini (2019) suggests that a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner has a diverse job description that focuses on the mental health dynamics of individuals that contributes to a productive life. According to the American Psychiatric Nurses Association(APNA), psychiatric nurses are experts in crisis intervention, mental health assessment, medication and therapy, and patient assistance (Santhini, 2019). Research further suggests that though mental health patients are being treated by psychologists, psychiatrist or mental health counselors, the role of psychiatric nurses play a vital role in the mental health or psychiatric care treatment of the patients (Santhini, 2019).
For the nurse practitioner to become a social change agent, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Improving information, facts, statistics, and strategies will all play vital roles with patients dealing with mental health. Empowering people to change their roles in the mental health system, becoming more active participants in their treatment plan, and often pushing for improvements in the quality of services would contribute to an improvement (Corrigan & Watson, 2002). The aspect of building self-esteem, which is feelings of accomplishment on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is a vital psychological aspect needed by the individual. This process can be approached from multiple approaches, but the basic needs must be met first. Treating the individual on a holistic level would increase the dynamics of accomplishing improvement in mental health. For example, engaging and networking with individuals with mental illness that has the functional ability to contribute to a society that includes a secure job, a family, and a positive outlook. Implement new cutting-edge technology to penetrate the negative barriers of mental illness on a platform (Corrigan & Watson, 2002).
One of the optimal nurse’s standard is to advocate for the patient. To become an active advocate of change, ethics, and morals play an essential role in the recipe. As a medical professional with credentials, the total care of the patient is the pinnacle of purpose. The vital activities of psychiatric mental health nurses include providing safe therapeutic procedures to the patients or clients on the day-to-day problems they face (Santhini, 2019). This also includes identifying drug therapy reactions and conducting psychotherapy. As an advocate for mental health, the change must focus on the provider to continue utilizing relevant evidence-based theories for effective best practices. Educating the patient to understand the illness, the process, and to combat the negative labels that are self-inflicted, public inflicted, and culturally inflicted labels (Corrigan & Watson, 2002). Conducting seminars, continuous research, and being an instrumental voice in congress along with organizations such as NAMI would help in the fight against mental illness as a social agent. Nurse advocates must work closely with the mental health patients to help them manage their mental illnesses, fulfill their lives, and make their lives productive in society.
What does mental illness look like? Does it present physically with a muscular physique or a skinny body frame? Is mental illness tall or short? Is mental illness educated or a high school drop out?
Mental illness can be all the above. There is no “look” to mental illness, and nothing “looks like” mental illness. There is no face of mental illness, and it crosses boundaries of age, sex, race, and economic status. It is often invisible, and it is universal. According to Blakemore (2018), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 25 percent of adults in the United States have a mental illness. However, images can help increase understanding of experiences that can otherwise be hard to understand. Living with mental illness seldom looks like the stereotype (Sandler, 2017). Still, stigma and confusion about mental illness abound. In 2007, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that only 25 percent of adults with symptoms of mental illness believe people are caring and sympathetic to people with mental illness. Although most people with mental illness lead normal lives, they may experience discrimination or be blamed for their condition (Blakemore, 2018). Individuals with mental illness are targeted due to the mental challenges from the disease and the stigma as it relates to the misapprehensions from the disease. As a result of both, people with mental illness are robbed of the opportunities that define a quality life: good jobs, safe housing, satisfactory health care, and affiliation with a diverse group of people. (Corrigan & Watson, 2002). Mental illness continues to be a stigmatized healthcare issue in the United States.
Blakemore, E. (2018). What does someone with mental illness look like? A Museum Tries
to answer That. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science
on April 26, 2020.
Corrigan, P. W., & Watson, A. C. (2002). Understanding the impact of stigma on people with
mental illness. World psychiatry: official journal of the World Psychiatric Association