This assessment enables students to demonstrate their understanding of contemporary concepts and priority focus areas in mental health. This assessment requires critical discussion and exploration of current literature. Students will be able to select one question (from a possible two) and will draw from national and international perspectives within contemporary literature.
Choose one (1) of the following topic questions:
Question 1: Indigenous people are hospitalized for mental health issues at twice the rate of non-Indigenous people and improving the mental health of Indigenous people is a national health priority (AIHW, 2020). Critically analyse contemporary literature and discuss five (5) aetiological factors relating to mental illness in Indigenous people. Describe one (1) evidence-based culturally sensitive nursing intervention that could be implemented when working with an Indigenous consumer experiencing mental illness.
Question 2: Early intervention in mental healthcare is a national health priorityanalyze (Australian Government, Department of Health, 2019). Early intervention can have a significant positive impact on outcomes from both an individual and community perspective. Critically analyse contemporary literature and discuss five (5) benefits to early intervention in mental health. Describe one (1) evidence-based nursing intervention that could be implemented when working with someone with an emerging mental health condition.
Question 2: Early intervention in mental healthcare is a national health priority (Australian Government, Department of Health, 2019). Early intervention can have a significant positive impact on outcomes from both an individual and community perspective. Critically analyse contemporary literature and discuss five (5) benefits to early intervention in mental health. Describe one (1) evidence-based nursing intervention that could be implemented when working with someone with an emerging mental health condition.
Early intervention is the method of delivering specialised help and assistance to someone who is undergoing or exhibiting any of the early signs and symptoms of psychiatric illness. Intervention is important not just for mitigating or preventing the progression of a psychiatric disorder, but also for strengthening a person's physical and mental wellbeing, societal engagement, and long-term socioeconomic outcomes (VSG, 2021). Early intervention is especially critical for children and adolescents, who may suffer long-term repercussions with mental illness. Early intervention in childhood may involve recognising babies and children who are at a greater risk of experiencing mental illness or serious developmental and behavioural difficulties. Around 11%–22% of children and young adults aged 0–24 years have serious mental health issues, with 52% of mental diseases beginning by the age of 15 and 74% by the age of 25 (McGorry & Mei, 2018).
Anxiety and mood disturbances, as well as problematic alcohol use, are the diseases with the greatest burden of illness in this age group. Hence, early intervention is of critical importance to reduce such a burden. Australian government sees early intervention in mental healthcare as a priority issue and is working to develop more accessible and proficient mental health care. This assessment aims at critically analysing the five benefits of early mental health interventions followed by exposure therapy as a nursing intervention for mental health conditions.
Five (5) benefits to early intervention in mental health
In today's world, there is an unavoidable stigma associated with pursuing mental health treatment. To deal with stressful circumstances and biological imbalances, many excellent and high-functioning individuals need mental health intervention. Few people seek help once they are compelled to, and by then, the effects are far more serious. These five long-term advantages of early mental health care are intended to reduce stigma and improve mental health for all.
Lower risk of relapse and less treatment resistance: People would have to undergo less intense therapy if they get mental health help sooner rather than later. Most individuals expect their problems to go away on their own, but mental illness deteriorates over time. People who receive the early intervention will learn coping skills when they are already able to use them. In some cases, this decreases the need for treatment, and in others, it decreases the dose and duration of medication prescribed (Daly et al., 2019). It keeps people from using detrimental and even life-threatening coping strategies like drug abuse, suicide and self-harm. In Australia, a government-funded programme in 2006 resulted in the establishment of ‘Headspace,' a collaborative and multidisciplinary program that provides early intervention for young people aged 12 to 25 who are experiencing mental health issues (Rickwood et al., 2019). Mental wellbeing, physical health, occupational and educational assistance, and drug use are all areas where Headspace supports. An independent review of Headspace found that the service reduced suicidal ideation, self-harm, and the number of days missed at school or work (Rickwood et al., 2019). Also, the individuals in headspace admitted that they work well with coping strategies and do not need hospitalizations or severe therapies (Bassilios et al., 2017). Similarly, Stokes et al. (2020) contend that majority of young adults that go undergo mental health therapy cope easily with life and have no or less risk of relapse.
Improved physical, behavioural and cognitive health outcomes: Improved birth outcomes, reduction in the prevalence of infectious illnesses and a decrease in adolescent obesity are all physical outcomes addressed by early mental health intervention programs (Dunning et al, 2019). Positive cognitive growth is closely linked to a child's academic performance and readiness to enter the workforce. Success on standardised assessments, school attainment, and further education and professional options when they graduate school are all common cognitive outcomes supported by early intervention. The willingness of children to develop healthy relationships with others, as well as their academic performance, is strongly linked to their self-regulatory abilities (Rodriguez et al., 2019). Adolescent behavioural self-control issues are closely correlated to a child's involvement in illegal acts during puberty and adolescence. Antisocial behaviour and violence, as well as aggression and abuse at school and interaction with antisocial peers, was also reduced by early intervention. Early intervention, according to studies, can assist a large number of children in reaching age-appropriate development (physical, emotional, and cognitive) (Erickson et al., 2019). Children who participate in early intervention programmes may be better educated academically and willing to engage with their peers (Erickson et al., 2019).
Longer and fuller recovery: The possibility of relapse is one of the most serious consequences of chronic mental health issues. Also after initial therapy and rehabilitation, the stigma of advanced mental disease is enough to leave patients more likely to relapse. When an issue is addressed while it is still mild, it is not likely to become terrifying. People will self-identify early warning signs of recurrent mental health problems if they are mindful of them. It also provides patients with safe coping strategies to help them avoid being distressed by repeated symptoms. The individuals who start mental health interventions at early life stages get therapy for a longer period and their recovery is assumed to be proper as they have very few chances of relapses (Slade et al., 2019). Marroquín et al. (2020) found that the people already suffering from mental health disorder got severe lapses during the COVID-19 pandemic. But those who were under interventional care managed the situation in a much better way and their mental health outcomes are far better compared to those who did not take therapy earlier.
Increased Self-Esteem and Motivation: Getting early mental health treatment probably improves overall self-esteem and motivation once individuals overcome the social stigma. Gaining a sense of confidence in having found the best support at the right time would be a part of recovery. Overcoming this barrier will inspire individuals to take on other challenges and barriers that they have been holding off. People would be much more motivated to live healthier lives as a result of their improved emotional and mental well-being (Ho et al., 2018). Behavioural modifications, self-esteem, self-confidence, raising awareness, and physical fitness are all positively influenced by community-based creative activities as part of early intervention. Furthermore, analyses of school-based mental health initiatives in middle and low-income countries have shown that the number of school-based stress management and resilience initiatives has beneficial impacts on students' self-esteem, engagement, and self-efficacy (Moffitt et al., 2018). The effect of regular physical activity on developmental outcomes in teenagers and youth was studied in four systematic reviews. In eight trials, exercise itself was shown to have a positive effect on self-esteem (Rodriguez et al., 2019). In four trials, exercise as part of other comprehensive early mental health interventions was shown to increase self-esteem dramatically (Biddle et al., 2019).
Reduced disruptions to work or school attendance: Teli practitioners will consult with family members in a normal setting, such as their house or a daycare centre. Since children are more at ease in familiar surroundings, Early Intervention experiences become a part of the everyday routine (Iorfino et al., 2019). Persistence and integration of approaches into bedtime, playtime, and mealtimes can help the child develop. Recent literature indicates that greater rates of attendance are linked to important predictor of academic performance and that student achievement decreases in lockstep with rising absenteeism, with little evidence of a threshold effect (Iorfino et al., 2019). Bullying is one of the most prevalent modes of violence and victimisation faced by school-aged students from high countries, and it is a serious and troubling issue for several school-aged adolescents. Bullying tends to rise in early grade school, plateau in middle school, and the decrease in high school. Bullying is major with children suffering from mental health issues resulting in school absenteeism (Cowie & Myers, 2017). Students with mental illnesses had reduced enrolment, missing 11.9 days a year on average. Students without mental illnesses, on the other hand, missed an average of 8.2 days a year (Sheridan et al., 2018). Improving mental health prevention, early diagnosis, recovery, and administration resulted in substantial increases in school attendance (Sheridan et al., 2018).
Evidence-based nursing intervention
Active communication skills are important to all nursing practises because they enable nurses to gather important information about patients' trauma histories as well as assess their present emotional state and depressive moods (Cannity et al., 2021). Nurses should build a person-to-person environment rather than expert-to-victim by showing empathy and sensitivity, identifying emotional responses, and de-emphasizing jargon that is too scientific or pathological. Patients who are feeling elevated levels of anxiety will benefit from maintaining composure, showing flexibility, and communicating that their symptoms are normal. One such therapy that can be used by nurses to treat mental patients is exposure therapy.
Exposure therapy takes place in a variety of ways. For instance, a patient suffering from paranoia or anxiety is exposed to a provocation that triggers their anxiety or fears. Patients with posttraumatic stress are said to have no ability to remove their trauma, but exposure therapy demonstrates that they do (Rauch et al., 2019). For some time, the patient becomes used to the condition or stimuli that cause their fears, and they eventually resolve them. Sometimes, based on the level of anxiety that the patient is facing, the therapist will use various types of exposure therapy. For example, the therapist can construct a real-life experience that the individual will be asked to go through, or a discussion therapy could be used to help the patient recall situations that traumatised them or visualise cases that might traumatise them (Carl et al., 2019). Exposure therapy can be used to treat a variety of anxiety disorders and fear-based experiences such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), trauma, phobias, and social anxiety disorder.
Exposure therapy is of different types and they are used differently depending on an individual's case. According to Botella et al. (2017) In Vivo, exposure therapy is used to treat patients using real-life cases for instance if a person is afraid of a spider they will handle real-life spiders for them to get rid of their fears of the spiders. Secondly, imagination is a form of therapy that the therapist instructs a person to create an imaginary scenario of the event that causes fear this can be a suitable treatment for the people who are having trauma as it would not be suitable to create such real-life events to the affected person again. Thirdly, virtual reality therapist can be used to induce the feeling of flying a person who is afraid of flying using technology. Lastly, the prolonged exposure where a person is subjected to a repeated stimulus which involves education on techniques of learning how to breathe to control the fears of stress and anxiety; is helpful to people who are experiencing trauma like disorders (Carl et al., 2019).
Prolonged exposure therapy is a therapy procedure for trauma a patient that is focused on the premise that minimising trauma-related experiences and external reminders hinders healing from the traumatic experience. Avoidance, in particular, prevents chances to mentally process the traumatic memory, learn to differentiate healthy from risky circumstances and disprove erroneous trauma-related cognitions, perpetuating the unreasonable cognitions that underpin mental health issues, namely, that the environment is utterly unsafe and that the trauma victim is incredibly incapable in dealing with stress. Emotional processing theory is based on this understanding of the processes involved in exposure therapy.
From the above assessment, it can be concluded that early interventions do have a positive effect on mental outcomes in later stages of life. This is accompanied by improved self-esteem, motivation, high academic performance, improved attendance, low rates of intense treatment and hospitalizations, full recovery, lower risk of relapse and enhanced physical, cognitive and behavioural outcomes. Early interventions are critical for adolescents and young children. Further, the evidence-based nursing intervention for the patient suffering from mental health diseases is exposure therapy. Exposure therapy can be used to treat a variety of anxiety disorders and fear-based experiences such as post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, and social anxiety disorder.