Advocates for Mental Wellness: 6 Ways Mental Health Nurses Make a Difference

Advocates for Mental Wellness: 6 Ways Mental Health Nurses Make a Difference

Mental health deserves as much attention as physical health. Anything that threatens our mental stability undermines our overall well-being, much like a physical ailment or injury.

A mental health nurse is a practicing nurse, a psychiatrist, and a health advocate, all bundled into one. They help patients combat both conditions that can be seen through scans and the ones that go beyond the physical. 

Here are the most crucial ways that mental health nurses help patients find their path to recovery. 

Creating Supportive Environments

For starters, mental health nurses provide an oasis of support. They offer a place where patients can find solace from the turmoil of relationships where their condition might often be misunderstood. They give patients a voice and a listening ear, a place where they’re treated with dignity. 

With high levels of professionalism and empathy, they can navigate emotionally sensitive issues when dealing with patients. This can include social determinants, history of drug use, and sexual orientation.

This down-to-earth and individualized approach encourages patients to open up about their needs. This increases the chances of finding a personalized treatment plan that works effectively. 

And over time as they handle more cases, nurses become more nimble and skillful in helping patients break out of their shells and overcome their challenges.

Holistic Assessment and Care

Mental health nurses are trained to diagnose and treat both physical and mental conditions. They’re equipped to take full responsibility for a patient’s care, from the initial medical evaluation to treatment and post-treatment follow-ups. This includes completing training programs, such as cpi training for healthcare workers, where they learn how to prevent and manage disruptive behaviour, enabling them to de-escalate crisis situations.

To illustrate this, students of the Yale University Nursing program must complete a number of courses. The topics range from the comprehensive medical evaluation of mental health to therapeutics, and advocacy.

Once they complete a nursing degree online, they help patients combat both conditions that can be seen through scans and the ones that go beyond the physical.

Well-trained mental health nurses prioritize not only a patient’s mental health but their emotional and social needs as well. They do so while respecting professional boundaries, with full deference to a patient’s preferences and privacy.

Educating Patients and Families

Mental health nurses can extend the supportive, nonjudgmental environment available to the patient beyond the healthcare setting to society at large. They achieve this by sensitizing the people in the patient’s lives as well as members of the community in general. 

They can speak with family members about a patient’s needs and offer coping strategies to help them foster a frictionless relationship. 

They do a lot to help patients get back to being normal and integrated into society. That includes offering them personalized self-care techniques and coping strategies. 

They can also refer them to appropriate social services and medical experts where they can receive further help.

Nurses are also duty-bound to follow up on both the patients and the people around them to ensure their recovery stays on track. 

Administering Therapeutic Interventions

In some places, mental health nurses are licensed to prescribe and administer medication. Where they are not, they work closely with psychiatrists to administer medications and treatment plans. 

They also work with extensive knowledge of therapeutic interventions. They can help patients identify and overcome stressors and diffuse panic attacks.  

Using evidence-based therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), they help patients unlearn harmful behaviors. 

This can be done in an individual or a group setting, depending on the circumstances. It can even be done in special groups, such as families and specific demographics to alter any unhealthy dynamics between the group members.

Crisis Intervention and Prevention

A crisis can be defined as an abrupt departure from the normal, whether it’s about moods or emotions, relationships, finances, or lifestyle. 

Mental health nurses don’t only treat mental health symptoms. They reach deeper to analyze and resolve the crisis behind them. They can deal with crises of all degrees, identifying and mapping out symptoms like hyperactivity, rapid speech, increased respiration, and a pale look.

With a raft of crisis intervention techniques, they can help guide patients through any stage of a crisis. They can use open discussions, situational support, therapy, and anticipatory planning, among others.

They can carry out these interventions in a wide variety of settings, from intensive care units to consultation rooms and home settings. This can happen in collaboration with a supporting medical team.

Promoting Self-Advocacy and Empowerment

Lastly, to galvanize their impact on a patient’s experience, mental health nurses can advocate on the patient’s behalf. They go out of their way to secure a safe and convenient environment for patients to confront their mental health issues and seek help. 

They can also go the extra mile to ensure that a patient’s care plan is tailored to the patient’s convenience. They help engineer treatment regimes and see patients through every step of the way. 

By making a strong effort to ease the patient’s experience, they give patients a strong sense of control over their mental health journey. This encourages patients to make the commitment needed to succeed.

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