Raising Mental Health Awareness
People with mental health problems often find themselves on the outside of society and rejected by friends. Adolescents with mental health problems and disorders are at more at risk and need awareness and rescuing.
This essay will explore my chosen article, starting with why I picked this topic. Then a summary of the chosen article. It will also describe and demonstrate the relevance of this article to my future role and professional practice. Finally, I will elaborate on how I have used the various academic skills to write this essay.
Mental Health Nurse Introduction
I am currently training to become a mental health nurse and practioner. Prior to this course, I was amongst that population in the society who had no idea and very little knowledge about the severity of this illness. Infact, I, alongside others, regarded any mental challenged individual and disorder with a stigma. Ignorantly, I also did not think about the thoughts of knowing children and teenagers could also be sufferers. I always knew I wanted to follow a career as a nurse because I enjoyed looking and working with people. However, the choice to become a psychiatric nurse was prompted after a personal experience in the family.
The known recorded adolescents suffering from mental health and disorders is predicted to increase by 50% by 2020 (National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) 200)5, For this reason, helping the most vulnerable in the society in any way possible, is a mission close at heart. This essay and article highlight ways in which nurses including trainees like myself, could develop and be more accretive and whilst working with adolescent clients, from / suffering any mental health and disorders.
The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) (1999) stated that: ‘Good mental health isn’t just the absence of mental health problems.’
This essay is based on an article by Jane Davies and Michelle Huws-Thomas, who are lectures at the Cardiff School of Nursing and Midwifery, at the University of Cardiff. It is titled “Care and management of adolescents with mental health problems and disorders. The authors explore how nurse's interact with young people suffering from mental health problems and disorders. A detailed observation of young people, their development, mental health and wellbeing, is taken into consideration, whilst also trying to implore how nurses working in a variety of settings, can use verbal and non-verbal communication to help improve the care given to their clients.
Adolescence is a period of physical, psychological, social, cognitive and cultural development that can affect health and wellbeing (DiCIemente et al 1996). It has been described as a development stage that lasts approximately ten years between the ages of 11-21 years (Gutgesell and Payne, 2004). Primarily, the writers argues that, based on researches including those of others like Harrington et al, states, although there is progress in the way children are cared for; as per, The children Act 1989 legislation, there is still evidence which reflects how changes required in legislation, are not considered as priority by the child and mental health services (CAMHS). As a result, there are areas that need more and better education, provision and organisation, within the multi-displinary team (MDT).
Protecting the wellbeing and mental health of young people is considered very important, since this is the most crucial part of development. During this rapid and dynamic transition of development, young people with existing chronic health and illness, including health-related problems, could be greatly affected. However, because these challenges and coping strategies will differ accordingly and depending on the individual and their family, there will be instances where some individuals develop mental health problems; hence impairing the young person’s social, emotional and physical health. This can affect the person’s normal functional ability - causing disorders such as; depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, conduct disorders, severe and frequent temper, tantrums beyond the expected age, thought disorder, eating disorders, self-harm and suicide“ (British Medical Association 2006)"
Most importantly, health professions should be trained and educated surrounding the topic. The training should include various essential skills, which will help to alert for warning signs of problem. Therapeutic skills, such are listening and empathy, will create room to build trust between the client and health practitioners - hence applying child and family-centered approach, which is known to be very effective.
Secondly, changes in the care provided. This include, the need for specialist units, length of stay in the hospital and a clearer boundary when accessing and admitting clients who are post-adolescent.
Finally, reflection on practice to access areas of strengths and weakness, so that developments aimed at proving optimal care to adolescent clients be addressed or appreciated accordingly.
Relevance to my future role
Mental health nurses are trained to work with clients with mental health problems and disorders. Hence, as a future mental health practitioner, my duties of care will be towards clients with such background.
This article deal with one sector or type(s) of clients I will be expected to liaise with. According to the roles and responsibilities of a mental health nurse, one of my role is to give continues care to all categories of patients, age is not a restriction (Forster et al). Adolescents suffering from mental health and disorders are very vulnerable. I believe, to an extend, the mental health and disorder chain or pattern commences with children and adolescents. A good nurse should be able to access and identify a ’case finding’. ideally, when solving a problem, people often say, to look for the ‘core issue’. Children eventually grow as adults. They are also regarded as the future, following the circle of life. For this reason, helping young people suffering from any form of mental health problem, is giving an opportunity for that person a chance of being able to survive adulthood. This is because, mental health and disorders is curable. Hence when diagnosed early and the appropriate care programme approach plan in place, there is a greater chance of steady recovery. To add, my chosen article has also mentioned how children develop mental disorders such as depression or self-harm over time. As a practitioner, I will be able to recognise warning signs, and help my client and their family on how to manage the problem, using a continuous and dynamic approach.
Going through adolescents can be difficult and stressful. Knowing and educating clients and their family, about a possible threat for the development of mental health illness during this period is important. Children already suffering from other illness and those in an environment with adults who are already service users, (not forgetting those receiving little or no help ), are at risk of developing a mental health related illness. Snyder, 1996, explains the essence of helping young people suffering from mental health problems and disorders in these words, ‘The goal is to help parents regain their competence and ability to help their teenager survive the passage to responsible adulthood.’ The adult and their life style and health is equally important, since a conjunction of the physical health and growth, and the context of the child’s environment, could define the child’s future.
The second relevance to my future role is the fact that the article gives me directions and areas of studies I will have to develop in order to help my client. Besides the administering to drugs, knowing the sides effects to any given medications paper works, a qualified mental health nurse is expected to have therapeutic skills.we6 These skill are important because, nurse also become counsellors and mediators as part of their roles. They then help the patient to liaise with other professionals to get respective treatments (Sharman, 1997). As stated before, young people being affected by mental health and disorder is increasing. Building a good and trustworthy relationship between the client and nurse is vital. Using the client-centred approach has already proven to be successful (Barry, 2002). By so doing the health provider will work with the client as an individual. The article infancies on the main three aspects required to build clients and nurse relationship. These are; trust, empathy, genuineness and active listening by asking open questioning. It also educates me on other therapeutic approaches offered in child and mental health services (CAMHS), such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and systemic family behaviour therapy (SFBT). Psychoanalytical approaches or talking therapy is where the client feels listened to and to an extent and result, feel valued. They can also reflect their thoughts and feeling with verbal and non-verbal communications. It is important for a nurse to know how / to read and understand what is being said, how it is said and reading body language. (Gerald et al 2008).
Finally, because, the therapeutic relationship is important, enhancing all the skills required is my relevant to my future role as a mental health nurse. A nurse remains an educator and a learner, where I know I will have to constantly develop by studying or training to achieve the required knowledge.
Academic skills used for this essay
This article was available and I had to research on a related topic for more information. I found so many books in the library, journal articles and websites from the internet. The activities I had already done was particularly helpful. In one of the activity, I learnt how to do online researches. Then I was able to include paraphrasing and referencing which I have later used in this essay and
other academic work whilst at the university. I also used the practical side - the clinical placements, where l was able to ask in person, questions relating to the topic. The various lessons I learnt whilst doing other activities helped me realise my expectation and how to go about it. During my practical placement, I managed to speak with people who told me more about the topic I was researching. This gave me an idea of what kind of materials I needed, so as
to commence gathering. One of the first school activity I did was knowing how to gather information. At the time, I followed the instructions to complete the assignment but did not really understand its importance. I am glad I part-took in that activity because gathering and collection materials and information was the foundation and starting point for my essay. I was very frightened to know I had to write more than a thousand words because I did not know if I had enough knowledge to write that many words.
During my placements, I worked mostly with adults service users. I soon realised, most of them, those who did not mind talking to me, always spoke of their childhood as the turning point in their lives. They knew, their illness started whilst in their teens. Before then, I had not really made up my mind regarding any chosen topic. However, after some exposure, I became passionate about approaching a problem by investigating the causes. I then used the skills acquired from doing the reading and comprehension and reflective assignment. I took into account what I was reading in the various books on related topic and what I was actually experiencing. I had decided to study on children with mental health problems since I had discovered some of our clients were not diagnosed early or did not receive adequate care. / Keeping a reflection dairy - which my mentor would, from time to time, go through what I wrote, helped me structure the thoughts in my writings.
The assessment criteria and a sample of the essay provided also gave me a bit of confidence for my work. I was aware I had to follow specific steps to mould this essay, as directed by my tutor. The tutor feedback and the discussion board was a good guide. Reading other students work and contribution was amazing. It was easy to quickly know whether I was on the right track. I am pleased to say, I can use various skills to complete this piece of work and possibly more.
Sheila Forster, Richard Barrett (2001) The Role of the Mental Health Nurse. Nelson Thornes. United Kingdom
Patricia D. Barry (2002) Mental Health and Mental Illness Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Kathryn Gelard and David Geldard (2008) Counselling children
Sage publications. London
Wendy Sharman (1997)
Children and Adolescent with Mental Health Problems
Bailliere Tindall London
Check my profile for more articles