Consumer-centered Mental Health Education

Abstract

Consumer-centered mental health education entails including the patient and their parents in key decision-making processes that affect the health of the patient. Such mental health education may be performed by professional nurses in the line of caring for the mentally ill. The benefits of this nursing practice are irrevocable despite various barriers towards achieving mental health education. The aim of this paper was to address such benefits and barriers of mental health education. The benefits include quick recovery from mental illnesses and prevention of the family members from suffering such conditions in future. The barriers include financial, policy and professional aspects that have been discussed in the paper. The post proposes further studies on specific mechanisms of addressing such barriers so as to safeguard the health of the mentally ill.

 

Introduction

There are several cases of mental health conditions that require being addressed for better and timely recovery from mental health conditions to be achieved. Most importantly, all education directed to the mental health patient should be patient-centered, implying that such an approach should be aimed at putting the patient’s issues at the central point of discussion (Steele, Dewa & Lee, 2007). It is important for the mental health patient to understand that they are considered during essential decision-making processes that affect their general health. Isolating them during care delivery would be adding into their further psychological distortion characterized by a feeling of helplessness that deteriorates their condition (Abuse, 2010). As such, it is important to involve both the patient and his or her family in the care delivery plan for the patient. Mental health education is just one of the ways through which nurses can involve the patient and their family members in the planned care delivery strategy. Both the patient and the family members need to understand the various options for treatment so that they can make an informed decision based on the provided information. There are various therapeutic approaches towards the management of depression that exacerbates mental problems, all of which need to be presented verbally, pictorially or in a written form for the patient and their family to understand them (Sarris, Kavanagh & Newton, 2008). The purpose of this paper is to highlight the benefits of mental health education targeting the depressed group of individuals as well as the barriers to effective education of such people. Moreover, the paper will address the skills that are required by a nurse to address consumer-centered care delivery and how these skills can be applied in nursing practice. 

Benefits of Mental Health Education

Patients with depression are people filled with self-guilt and self-blame for the conditions that affect them. It is important for the nurse to make the patient understand that there are external factors that cause depression and not necessarily through self-engineered processes. Factors such as genetic and environmental also take part in the causation of depression; and they are beyond the control of the patient affected (Coventry et al., 2011). If the patient and their family understand this fact from the nurse educators, they are convinced that the patient is not the cause of the condition and should, therefore, not keep on blaming themselves for the condition, a belief that hastens the healing process. Such a realization may also reduce the tendency the patient to have frequent suicide thoughts since they get to understand that they are not the cause of the condition from which they are suffering.

Mental health education also improves the quality of treatment since both the family and the patient take part in making important decisions that affect their treatment. Given all the options for managing depression, it is likely that the patient and the family will choose an efficient and cost-effective plan for their treatment (Sockalingam & Abbey, 2009). By so doing, the patient will be able to obtain the most efficient plan of treatment for their disease condition. During the process of education on depression, the nurse will most likely highlight some of the ways through which this condition can be prevented. Such ways are like engaging in active exercises and staying away from activities that would worsen their conditions of depression. This information would be beneficial to the attending family members who would work towards ensuring that they too, do not suffer from depression. The nurse would also create awareness on the harmful effects of stigma and discrimination against individuals that suffer from depression. Emphasis on the importance of emotional support will also be given during the mental education program, helping the patient to live a hopeful life. Emotional support reduces the chances of disease exacerbation and the possibility of suffering from other diseases that are related to depression (Proudfoot et al., 2010). As such, it becomes easier to manage the disease condition by cutting off costs of potentially managing other conditions.

By the end of the mental education program, the family and the patient will be able to understand that even the most severe depression conditions can be successfully managed. The option of using therapeutic drugs against depression may be discussed during such a program with the aim of completely eliminating the disease condition. However, some patients may be allergic to such agents or the contents of such drugs. It is only during such mental education programs that such possible allergic reactions can be discussed to the benefit of both the patient and the family members (Sarris, Kavanagh & Newton, 2008). In addition to causing therapeutic impacts on depression, the benefits of exercise can be addressed based on their role in keeping the patient healthy and protecting them from other conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes that may accompany depression at some point. The benefits of diet management are also addressed during such a mental education program for the benefit of staying healthy, both for the patient and their family members.

Barriers to Effective Mental Education

Despite the many benefits that accompany mental health education, certain barriers deter the acquisition of such knowledge. Mental disorders such as depression are complex and require a wide variety of professionalism. In most cases, these professionals are not adequately available to offer such professional education to the patients. In the developed countries, for instance, it has been reported that the percentage of people that require such professional care but fail to get it range between 44% and 70% (Proudfoot et al., 2010). Moreover, there is a reported global shortage of nurses, adding into the problem of inadequate numbers of professionals to perform mental education. Financial barriers also affect the ability of mental health patients to receive a professional and patient-centered education. In most countries, mental disorders are not covered by insurance companies, resulting in limited affordability of the nursing education services for such patients and their families. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about one-third of all people live in countries that only allocate about 1% of their budget on mental health to cater for services including mental health education. Furthermore, most countries lack comprehensive policies that are put in place to govern mental health care. About 40% of all nations that have such policies put in place have been shown to lack amendment of such policies since the 1990s, making them unreliable. As such, most patients of mental health, including those suffering from depression end up lacking essential patient-centered services such as mental health education. Stigmatization is another huge barrier towards the effective education of patients with mental disorders such as depression. Such people are discriminated against and find no need to attend such education programs that may otherwise improve their conditions and promote quick recovery (Sarris, Kavanagh & Newton, 2008).

Skills Required by Nurses Delivering Consumer Education

Nurses expected to deliver consumer education need to be competent in the suggested condition which is depression. The need to be aware of the various options necessary for managing such a disease which can be proposed to the health care consumer for them to make informed decisions (Abuse, 2010). Another essential skill for such a nurse is effective communication. All information based on preventative and therapeutic measures against depression can only reach the targeted audience including the patient and their family through effective communication skills. It is important for the nurse to create an environment that can allow both the patient and their family to open up and bring forth their suggestions on how they can achieve the best-practice treatment (Sarris, Kavanagh & Newton, 2008). The nurse should also express efficient stress management skills that can be passed on to the patient and their family, who are also likely to be stressed by their relative’s condition. It is the duty of such a nurse to make the clients understand that the depression condition can be successfully managed if all parties were committed to achieving quick recovery for the patient. 

Relevance of Findings for Own Nursing Practice

These findings show that there is absolute importance for providing adequate mental education to patients of depression and the family of such patients. From this knowledge, the nurse can consider such a role as essential in their daily interactions with patients of depression and other mental illnesses. While addressing the problems of these patients, it is important for the nurse to take into consideration the benefits that may befall a patient that undergoes mental education. Overall, the role of a nurse is to promote quick recovery of patients, a goal that may be achieved through mental education. From the findings, the nurse also gets to understand the various barriers to achieving an effective mental education to patients of depression (Proudfoot et al., 2010). As such, the nurse can address some of these barriers, especially the ones based on stigmatization through patient and family education. The nurse may also propose addressing of the other barriers by the relevant authorities so as to ensure a safe environment is achieved for patients with depression and other mental conditions. 

Conclusion

Consumer-centered care implies that the patient is involved in all the decisions that affect their health. This form of care for the mentally ill can be addressed through mental health education whose benefits have been discussed in this post. However, there are financial, policy and professional barriers that hinder the achievement of mental health education for patients suffering from depression. Nonetheless, the findings of the post suggest various skills that are required by the nurse in performing mental health education for patients with depression; skills that may also be utilized in the nursing setting.

 

References

Abuse, S. (2010). Mental Health Services Administration.(2009). Results from the 2008 national survey on drug use and health: National findings.

Coventry, P. A., Hays, R., Dickens, C., Bundy, C., Garrett, C., Cherrington, A., & Chew-Graham, C. (2011). Talking about depression: a qualitative study of barriers to managing depression in people with long term conditions in primary care. BMC family practice, 12(1), 1.

Proudfoot, J. G., Parker, G. B., Pavlovic, D. H., Manicavasagar, V., Adler, E., & Whitton, A. E. (2010). Community attitudes to the appropriation of mobile phones for monitoring and managing depression, anxiety, and stress. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 12(5), e64.

Sarris, J., Kavanagh, D. J., & Newton, R. (2008). Depression and exercise. Journal of Complementary Medicine: CM, The, 7(3), 48.

Sockalingam, S., & Abbey, S. E. (2009). Managing depression during hepatitis C treatment. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 54(9), 614-625.

Steele, L., Dewa, C., & Lee, K. (2007). Socioeconomic status and self-reported barriers to mental health service use. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 52(3), 201.

 

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