Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mental Health Promotion

Mental Health Promotion Mental health is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the state of wellbeing that makes it possible for persons to attain their full potential. In this state of wellbeing, it is possible for people to manage their daily demands and stresses as well as being productive in their life and also in their societies (WHO, 2010 cited in Cowell, 2011). Mental health of an individual has been associated with positive outcomes in various areas of life. This is the rationale behind the idea of mental promotion. However, regardless of the increased awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing, mental health promotion remains among the underdeveloped areas of health promotion. Woodhouse (2010) argues that one cannot be said to be health without mental health. Positive mental health comprises the capacity to solve problems, self-esteem, and the capability to acclimatize to mental demands and stresses. Hungerford (2012) defines mental health promotion as a set of processes which are directed at making stronger the determinants of mental health as well as their maintenance. Delivery of mental health promotion can be achieved through the levels of prevention to the people who are well, helping the ones with developing symptoms to whom intervention can be prompt, and treatment of the ones with illness, aiming at limiting the chances of disability. Studies reveal that there is a high prevalence of mental health problems in Australia. Research has revealed that about 50 percent of the disease burden and injury among youth aged between 15 and 24 is directly related to mental health issues. When looking at all age groups, the young people in the country have the highest rates of mental health issues. It is approximated that in every four young people in the country, one experiences a mental health issue. The levels of these experiences are suggested to be moderate to severe. Most of the mental health problems experienced are anxiety disorders (15.4 percent), substance use disorders (12.7 percent) as well as affective disorders (6.3 percent). One of the major concerns in the country for the health care providers is suicide among the young people. It is approximated that between 2004 and 2006, 20 percent of the deaths in the country in the age group of 16–24 resulted from suicide. Suicidal ideation is a self-determining risk factor for effective completion of suicide attempt. Current research results show that as many as one in ten young people in the country might be presently experiencing mild to severe levels of suicide ideation. Three studies of about 1300 young individuals have revealed that 10 percent of the individuals aged between 14 and 18 years, as well as 8 percent the of those aged between 18 and 24 years have experienced suicidal ideation in the past one week (Wilson, Bushnell and Caputi, 2011). The nature of the problem suggests that nurses and other health care service providers have the role of identifying the diverse mental health needs of their clients. There are various ways through which mental health needs are revealed among different populations. For instance, in school children, the needs are evident in externalizing behaviors like verbal aggressiveness, fighting, substance abuse, restlessness and risky sexual behaviors. These needs can also be evident in externalizing behaviors like withdrawal, self-harm, somatic complaints, suicidal thoughts as well as issues with school-related processes such as performance, attendance, work completion and lateness. While the symptoms of poor mental health can be severe mental illness, they also reveal lower intensities of mental health. Ecologically-based research has revealed lower which are associated with stress factors such as poverty, family problems, disasters, or societal violence (Cowell, 2011). Failure to intervene in mental health problems can lead to other more serious consequences on the patient. Untreated mental health issues can lead to distress and disabilities which can go for decades. This is important for the nurses to realize the importance of early intervention for mental health problems. Getting professional intervention early can lower the long term consequences of majority mental health issues as well as prevent the development of more serious kinds of disorders and disabilities. Early intervention can also play an important role in preventing successful completion of a suicide attempt where there are suicide behaviors or ideation. Regardless of the importance of early intervention, it has been shown from research that young people tend to shy away from seeking help for mental health problems. It was revealed in the 2007 NSMHWB that among the young persons in the country between the ages of 16 and 24 with a 12 month identification of a widespread mental disorder, only a quarter sought or engaged in professional assistance for their symptoms (Wilson, Bushnell and Caputi, 2011). This means that the professionals have a huge role to play, not only in the intervention itself, but also in creating awareness on the need for early intervention. For most of the disorders that affect human beings, it is suggested that people will profit by being aware of the actions they can take in preventing, for early intervention and treatment (Jorm, 2012). Strategies To prevent basically means to “to keep something from happening” (Wand 2011). Nevertheless, there are differing ideas regarding something and have been recognized as the prevalence of a disorder, the relapses, the associated disability, and the risks for a disease. This has basically caused confusion in the area of mental health as far as prevention is concerned. Conventionally, the public health idea of prevention of a disorder has looked at the concept as “primary, secondary or tertiary” on the basis of whether the intervention method prevents the occurrence of the disorder itself, the seriousness of the disorder, or the disability related to the disorder. However, this system tends to work more effectively for those diseases with evident etiology. The problem with mental disorders in prevention is that they happen because of interplay of genetic and environmental forces at particular periods in a person’s life. It is also difficult to some to a consensus on the particular time of the beginning of a mental problem. This is because the progression from asymptomatic to symptomatic status can be subtle. Additionally, it is possible for persons to experience the symptoms of mental health disorder, without necessarily fulfilling the necessary criteria for diagnosis of a mental illness within the diagnostic system (Woodhouse 2010). However, this does not mean that there are no intervention strategies for mental health problems. The strategies are normally focused on risk factors for those for the preventive ones, and treatment for those who are already suffering the mental disorder. Preventive strategies require to be adopted prior to the beginning of the illness for the maximum effectiveness to be achieved. For those who have already developed the mental disorder, intervention is targeted at reducing the severity, duration, changing the course, and reducing the chances of related disabilities by adopting intervention strategies all through the course of the mental illness (Wand 2011). Screening, individual risk factors assessment This intervention strategy involves mental health preventive and promotional measures that are targeted to individuals. Individuals are screened for mental health problems or the risk factors are established with the aim of finding help for the person. It is important to note that in this case, help is customized to the needs of the individual. To be able to acquire information from an individual in the intervention process, it is important for the nurse to foster a trusting relationship between him- or herself and the client. Young individuals have been shown to be willing to engage in the intervention program when they are shown to be active collaborators in the process (Jorm, 2012). Mental health literacy It is noted that mental health literacy is not just provision of information or knowledge. Instead, it is information or knowledge which is connected to the likelihood of action to profit personal mental health or that of others. In nursing, it is important to note that mental health literacy has different elements, such as information on the ways of preventing mental health problems, realization of the onset of mental health disorder, information on help-seeking choices as well as the treatments which are available, information on self-help approaches for milder cases of mental health problems, and first aid skills for supporting individuals with the onset of a mental health disorder. It is also important to provide information on what is required to be known by patients in the management of mental health disorders as well what other people close to the patient need to know to continue providing effective care (Jorm, 2012). Health education and skill development Most of the specialized elements of mental health knowledge are covered by the idea of psychoeducation. This type of education in the area of mental health is offered by mental health professionals (Jorm, 2012). Mental health promotion in educational settings can be considerably effective. This is where there is improvement of mental health literacy in schools, universities and colleges, this intervention is most important given that it is in these settings where there are most high risk groups. There have been many such programs in the past, but their evaluation has not been effective. However, for the randomized studies that have been carried out, especially in high school, some positive outcomes have been revealed. Trained professionals can be used to provide information to students on different subjects such as depression, substance abuse and depression among others. Such sessions have been revealed to increase the level of willingness among the students to seek help on mental health problems. Where children are provided with lessons on mental health problems they are able to help themselves and others. This is also because as the students are directed to the sources of help in case of mental health issues. The effectiveness of such programs has been revealed in the change of attitude in seeking help and seeking treatment. Mental health literacy in the educational setting is very important in mental health promotion (Jorm, 2012). Community action In some countries, community campaigns have been carried out with the aim of improving mental health outcomes. Beginning from 2000 such a campaign was started in Australia. This was a national government-funded depression strategy known as beyondblue, with one of its objectives being raising community awareness of depression as well as other related disorders. The actions taken by the initiative have been diverse, such as provision of advertising campaigns, having well-known professionals speaking about depression, educating journalists, funding sporting and artistic events, as well as provision of free information via print media and online. The strategy has also provided information to diverse language and cultural factions in the country. This initiative has been effective in raising the level of awareness on depression in the country. There was also improved ability to identify depression, highly positive beliefs regarding the possible benefits of intervention, as well as more public openness regarding the mental health disorder (Jorm, 2012). Community campaigns on other mental disorders can also play an important role in creating awareness and generally addressing the problem in the society. Mental health promotion is aimed at then protection of the mental health condition of the community and making sure that there are resources and opportunities for the achievement of optimum mental health as well as wellbeing possibility. Settings and supportive environments The environment within which an individual resides has a direct and indirect effect on his or her mental health. The environment in this case entails emotional, social and physical environment. Especially for the children and the youth, there is higher vulnerability to changes in the environment due to the rapid changes in their bodies and mental status. Thus, the mental wellbeing of individuals is directly related to the quality and safety of the environment (natural environments, social environments and built environments), at home, in the community and at school. It is important to provide a safe environment where there are no cases of abuse, violence, neglect or injuries. It is important to create supportive and safe environment for people to live in. this is the case for those who are at risk of developing mental health problems and those who are being treated for the disorders. It is important to create awareness on the role played by individuals and communities in the creation of such a supportive environment. There is also need for effective health policies and practices for optimizing individual and collective wellbeing. This entails provision of secure foundations in supportive settings, development of life skills, and access to information to make healthy choices (Hungerford 2012). Conclusion Mental health promotion is very important in the achievement of mentally health individuals and communities. The information provided in this paper has major implications for nursing in as far as mental health promotion is concerned. There is need to provide adequate information and awareness on mental health issues to the target population. The other implication is to watch out for warning signs of mental health problems on individuals in the population, for example for the school nurses. More research is required to develop more strategies in mental health promotion. References Cowell, J.M. 2011, Mental Health Promotion: Opportunities for School Nursing Research, The Journal of School Nursing 27: 91 Hungerford, C. 2012 ‘Approaches to mental health service provision’, in C. Hungerford and H. Jones (eds) Mental Health Care: An introduction for health professionals, John Wiley & Sons Australia. Milton Queensland. Jorm, A. F. 2012, Mental Health Literacy: Empowering the Community to Take Action for Better Mental Health, American Psychologist 67, 3, 231–243 Wand, TT 2011, 'Real mental health promotion requires a reorientation of nursing education, practice and research', Journal Of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing, 18, 2, pp. 131-138, Wilson, C.J., Bushnell, J.A. & Caputi, P. 2011, Early access and help seeking: practice implications and new initiatives, Early Intervention in Psychiatry 5 (Suppl. 1): 34–39 Woodhouse, A 2010, 'Is there a future in mental health promotion and consultation for nurses?', Contemporary Nurse: A Journal For The Australian Nursing Profession, 34, 2, pp. 177-189