Article Critique Paper
University of Phoenix
Healthy Communities: Theory & Practice
February 28, 2010
Article Critique Paper
The young mother of two young children and a newborn struggles with feelings of sadness and worthlessness. Fearful that she will be deemed an unfit mother and her children taken away she doesnt seek help. Thirteen percent of new mothers are diagnosed with post-partum depression (http://womanshealth.gov) . A middle aged successful businessman worries that he will lose his career and his coworkers will view him differently if his diagnosis of bipolar disorder is revealed. Eight million adults are affected with bipolar disorder and able to manage their symptoms successfully with therapy and medication (http://www.facingbipolar.com). She was hearing the voices in her head again, telling her to stop taking her medicine, not to speak or trust anyone; she was walking the streets disorientated, paranoid, and delusional. Her family unaware of her whereabouts. Nearly three million people between the late teens and mid-thirties are diagnosed with schizophrenia (http://www.schizophrenia.com). At a family gathering a seventy-five year old gentleman doesnt remember his wifes name and is confused. It is becoming increasingly difficult for his wife to care for him at home. Each day she looks in his eyes and hopes for moments of clarity and recognition. They have been married for thirty years. Every 70 seconds someone develops Alzheimers disease. It is the seventh leading cause of death (http://www.alzheimersassociation.org).
The above examples are just a few of the mental health disorders that impacts a individual and their families life. One in four people will experience some sort of mental health problem at some point in their lives (http://www.bsmnhft.nhs.uk). The stigma associated with being diagnosed with a mental health disorder persists today. Isolation, hospitalizations, loss of employment, loss of home, poor self esteem, and lack of community resources are a few of the challenges facing individuals diagnosed with a mental health disorder. The goal of the Burmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust in England is to challenge and change the stigma associated with mental health disorders individually and collectively in the community. Through education, innovative programs, and by providing community based mental health services individuals diagnosed with mental health disorders once hospitalized or ostracized and isolated from the community now receive treatment in their own home and community and lead active productive lives.
The article Rules of Engagement: Reaching out to Communities describes the ways the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) engaged communities that were deemed hard to reach. The author uses the term community to describe people with a broad spectrum of common interests that are based on shared ethnicity, gender, age, disability or geographic location (Rellon, 2009). At risk communities such as lesbian, gay and transgender groups, black African Caribbean groups, Sikh youth, and senior citizens were targeted for being hard to reach. Once at risk communities were identified the BSMHFT used a variety of ground-breaking programs to reach out and engage these groups. High profile celebrities and well known sport figures in the ambassador program delivered messages to youth groups about tolerance and acceptance of individuals affected with mental disorders. Programs were developed with community businesses that worked to remove barriers and provide employment opportunities for mentally disabled individuals. Mental health nurses used the media to educate communities, deliver positive messages, and raise awareness of mental illness and services available. Mentoring, volunteering, and internship programs were established. Partnership were established with womans groups as evidence suggests a link between domestic abuse and mental health programs. Each of these programs provided education and helped raise awareness and support for individuals with mental health diseases.
Mental health nurses were instrumental in developing and implementing the various programs to raise awareness, education and acceptance of individuals diagnosed with mental disorders. A lack of community resources such as outreach programs and clinics, an increase in the number of individuals with mental health disorders living in the community, and lack of education available influenced the BSMHFT to create programs to raise community awareness.
Watsons theory of human caring states “our work places human-human caring as central to professional nursing responsibilities, the role and moral foundation for the profession” (Watson, 2009, p. 470). Individuals diagnosed with psychiatric disorders have been faced with persecution, discrimination and stigmas due to a result of lack of awareness and education in communities. To ignore such discrimination we would be ignoring our professional ethical duties and function. As nurses we are in a position to challenge and change perceptions through education, compassion and acceptance. To create an environment of tolerance, well being and acceptance is possible through education. Radio, television, internet, and newspaper articles are medians that can be utilized to reach individuals and groups in the community to educate and raise awareness of mental illness. Community business that offer employment as well as community functions that welcome individuals with mental illness will create an environment of tolerance. Watson stated, “true transformation of health care ultimately has to come from a shift in consciousness and intentional actions of the practitioners themselves, changing health care from the inside out(Watson, 2009, p. 470) . The mental health nurses at BSMHFT have successfully challenged and changed stigmas related to mental illness allowing individuals affected with mental illness to thrive in their community.
Alzheimer association: http://www.alzheimersassociation.org
Birmingham & Solihul Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust: http://www.
Facing Bipolar: http://www.facingbipolar.com
Rellon, L. (2009, June). Rules of engagement: reaching out to communities. Nursing
Management, 16(3), 18-22. Retrieved from http//proquest.umi.com/pqdweb
Watson, J. (2009). Caring science and human caring theory: transforming personal and
professional practices of nursing and health care. Journal of Health & Human
Services Administration, 4(31), 466-482. Retrieved from http://search.ebsco.host.com