What Mental Health Nurses Treat and the Professionals They Rely on For Support

First Posted: Jun 04, 2021 02:31 PM EDT
What Mental Health Nurses Treat and the Professionals They Rely on For Support

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We might prefer not to talk about it, but good mental health is vital to our happiness and overall wellbeing. When things go wrong, our behavior and moods can quickly be affected, putting our relationships, jobs and physical health at risk. It's a worrying prospect, but however badly people are affected, mental health care professionals can help them to get back on track.

Could I work in mental health care?

Yes, there is a national shortage of nurses, and you will certainly be in high demand once you've graduated. There are various routes to becoming a mental health nurse, and you can choose to study on campus or online. If remote learning would better fit your lifestyle, the Wilkes University psychiatric nurse practitioner program will provide you with a certified qualification. On a Wilkes course, you'll gain a deeper understanding of your subject on a clinical placement, and you can choose to start classes at a time that suits you.  

What conditions do mental health nurses treat?

Many types of mental illness call for specialist treatment. Nurses can help with familiar problems such as anxiety, addiction and depression, but they also assist people who have lesser-known conditions. They plan and organize support for people who are diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, as well as personality and eating disorders.

How long does a course of treatment last?

As patients are all individuals and each form of mental illness is different, the length of time it takes for them to get better varies. Some people will need minimal support for a few months, while others will have a condition that means that they need ongoing care throughout their life.

Which health care professionals work with mental health nurses?

Mental health nurses may be called upon to meet patients at home or in a local health care clinic. Alternatively, they may choose a role at a hospital or a specialist unit with the hospital. They will also help to improve the outcomes for patients in secure residential units and prisons. In each of these environments, the work of a mental health nurse is often carried out as part of a team. These multidisciplinary teams will be made up of physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers. From time to time, they will also liaise with health professionals in other fields such as therapists and paramedics.

Why do mental health nurses work as part of a diverse team?

Being part of a network allows a mental health nurse to meet a range of patient needs and coordinate their care effectively. For example, mental health nurses will listen to a patient's concerns before establishing the best plan of action. This early stage could involve meeting with social workers if they are part of a patient's life. In discussions with a physician, mental health nurses can ensure that patients are receiving the right type of medication and at the right level. If a patient requires therapy sessions to aid their recovery, counsellors or therapists could become involved through discussions with a mental health nurse.

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