Every year millions of people are affected by some mental illness all over the world. Yet, mental illnesses are usually overlooked, especially in comparison with physical disorders. Mental illness can also cause social as well as financial problems for the patient. In this way, mental illness is very similar to any other disease. In some cases, though, it can be worse. For instance, severe depression and anxiety can lead to suicidal thoughts. Some mental disorders can also heighten criminal tendencies. In such scenarios, the patient must seek help from professionals without any delays. There are many ways in which professionals such as nurses can help people with mental illnesses. First of all, nurses know how to care for such patients. Every day is a new day in this profession. There are certain times when nurses need to make decisions on their own. Because of this, they are specifically trained for such scenarios.
Moreover, today people are becoming more aware of mental health, and the demand for mental health nurses is also increasing. Technology allows institutes to offer students distance learning programs so that they can learn at their own pace. Therefore, individuals who want to become mental health nurses can opt for PMHNP programs online and start their nursing careers. Nurses are always looking for ways to improve their service delivery. A study showed that 96 percent of nurses think that they still need additional training. Here are a few ways in which nurses can improve care for patients who suffer from mental illnesses.
Assess the Mental State
The nurse needs to be aware of the mental state of the patient. Sometimes, the patient is in the initial stages of the disease. The help that the patient needs will depend on their mental state. If they are experiencing severe trauma, they may need special care and attention. Nurses can assess the mental state by observing the social behavior of the patient. Nurses can also look at the medical history of the patient as well as investigate if they have a family history of abuse.
Know the Causes
Nurses may also try to know the reason behind the mental suffering of their patients. To solve a problem, it is always important to know the cause of the problem. The same is applicable in fighting a mental illness. The aging process can be a cause of some mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Environmental factors can also be a primary cause of some mental illnesses such as depression and stress. Knowing the disease and its causes can help a great deal in taking adequate care of the patient.
Nurses must maintain good communication with the patient. Sometimes patients are hesitant. They need time as well as encouragement from the health care specialist. Once the nurse lets them know they are there to listen to the problems of the patients. They might open up about their mental illnesses. Healthcare providers need to communicate with the patient in a sensitive and caring tone. It will help the patient feel relaxed.
Build a Relation
Another way to establish trust with the patient is to build a relation with them. As a nurse, developing a relationship based on mutual care and respect can go a long way. It will make your patient feel wanted and liked. People who suffer from mental illnesses might feel ignored and uninvited. But when you try to develop a relationship with them, they will be willing to cooperate. It will also motivate them to get better, and they will feel healthier.
Some patients may have been through severe mental and physical trauma. It will result in them being extremely sensitive. It is a moral duty of every member of society to be considerate of such individuals. All burden is on the healthcare providers. Therefore, mental health nurses need to be very vigilant around such patients. Nurses need to consider even the tiniest of details while handling such patients. For example, nurses may not use sensitive language near a mental health patient. Similarly, nurses may speak in a calm tone with their patients. These little steps can go a long way in caring for people with mental illnesses.
When dealing with a mental health patient, try to be as compassionate as you can be. These people have been through situations where someone blamed them for their mental illnesses. It can be a teen who was deemed unsocial or an elderly who forgot apples in the grocery. And the chances are that they also would have blamed themselves. Therefore, the mental health care nurse must consider such traumatizing incidents while developing a strategy for such patients. The care must be patient-centric and needs to cater to the needs of the patient.
Take Care of your Own Mental Health
While dealing with patients who have been through mental illness is a noble thing to do. However, it can hurt the mental health of the nurses as well. Therefore, it is necessary that as health care providers, nurses take care of their health as well. It will result in them being able to focus on their patients without any compromises. On the other hand, if nurses do not care for their mental health, they cannot help the patients.
Mental health is as much important as physical health. People are becoming more aware of their mental well-being. It is also essential to be there, as a society, for people who are suffering from mental illnesses. Nurses are our frontline warriors in this fight. By developing a relationship with the patient, nurses can motivate their patients. It will help the patient in recovering from his mental illnesses.
Additionally, knowing the causes of mental illness, good communication, and providing patient-centered care can also help their patients. Finally, to better help their patients, nurses also need to focus on their mental health.