MENTAL HEALTH PROMOTION
This module aligns with key elements of APNA’s “Health Promotion & Illness Prevention” (American Psychiatric Nurses Association Education Council, Undergraduate Branch, 2022).
- Mental Health Promotion
- Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Module Learning Outcomes
- Describe mental health promotion.
- Explain the use of self-care to promote mental health and well-being.
- Discuss complementary and alternative approaches to promote mental health and well-being.
Mental Health Promotion
Mental health promotion is a necessity to achieve mental health. Consider physical health, as nurses we know that there are modifiable risk factors (e.g., obesity, smoking, nutrition) that can decrease risk for cardiac events, stroke, and cancer. Likewise, patients can proactively support a state of mental health through self-care and the use of complementary/alternative medicine. Patients should check with their primary care provider before beginning an herbal medication regimen. However, other useful mental health promotion strategies include meditation, yoga, art, music, journaling, rest, dance or another exercise.
Self-care is merely, just that, caring for oneself. Generally, as a society we are all busy and do not prioritize caring self-care. Business can translate to high stress levels. Increased stress in the body is associated with ill-health outcomes. An informal Google search “stress and health” will provide a host of returned entries documenting the effects of stress on and within the body. Chronic stress may also impact mental health outcomes. Psychoimmunology is a new field of study that examines the effects of psychosocial stressors in the immune system (Videbeck, 2020).
As nurses, we certainly need to practice self-care. Please sit back and take a moment to listen to one of our colleague’s, Dr. Karen White-Trevino, take on self-care and the crucial need for nurses to practice self-care.
Mary Rockwood Lane. (2021). Karen White-Trevino, DNP, RN [Video]. YouTube. https://youtube.com/watch?v=SCWZrW0Wf1M&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
There are many resources for complementary and alternative medicine specific to mental health. Two safety factors to consider are:
- Always ensure the patient knows to check with their primary care provider before beginning a complementary therapy or alternative medicine. There is the potential with adverse medication interactions and/or physical contraindications for certain therapy.
- As nurses our role is not to recommend any treatment, but to provide the information and let the patient make the choice that is best for them and their family. See the MODULE 7: THERAPEUTIC COMMUNICATION for a review on non-therapeutic communication.
Two of my personal CAM resources are meditation and yoga. Here are two excellent resources for that can get you started.
- Meditation: Dr. William Mikulas’ Taming the Drunken Monkey book.
- Yoga: Dr. Karen White-Trevino’s Nurse Mentoring Caritas: Yoga & Meditation YouTube channel.
Nursing Mentoring Caritas: Yoga & Meditation. (2022). Trailer: nurses mentoring caritas [Video]. YouTube. https://youtube.com/watch?v=OqbRGuI6eqM&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE
Check out some of the following resources:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Mental Health
- National Institute of Mental Health
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- World Health Organization’s Mental Health subpage
You should have learned the following in this section:
- Mental health promotion is vital to achieving positive mental health outcomes.
- Self-care is a means to promote mental health and well-being.
- Nurses should routinely practice self-care.
- CAM methods can complement Western medicine. However, safety is key. Patients should check with their primary care provider before integrating CAM into their care regimen.