Millions of people suffer from mental health challenges every year. For some people, mental illness can take a toll on their everyday lives. Whereas, for others, it can only cause slight disturbances at times. No matter how severe, it is challenging to cope with certain struggles. It can be more difficult for someone to overcome them alone if they do not have a trustworthy or reliable person on their side. The optimal solution to such problems is to consult a professional psychiatrist. However, a lot of people are hesitant to seek help immediately. They require a push from someone and need someone to look out for them. In this regard, nurses can step up and help patients in need. Nurses are responsible for administering holistic care for their patients. Apart from physical health, nurses also look out for their patient’s mental health and address any psychological discomfort. Below we will talk about six ways nurses can help a patient with mental health issues.
Assess Patient Symptoms
The first and most important thing a nurse can do is identify if a patient is struggling. If someone shows unusual behavior, such as depression or aggression, it may have underlying mental health issues. However, not all nurses may be qualified enough to understand such issues. But, if they are interested, they can always advance their education by learning more. Aspirants can opt for a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program to understand these issues. This career field will certainly be a good choice if someone likes to help other people. Even though not all registered nurses become specialized in this field, they still have to look out for their patients. The same applies here as well. They are responsible for caring for mentally ill patients just like they would for other diseases. Even if the nurses are not entirely confident in helping such patients, they can assess the symptoms and ask a professional to confirm.
Build Patient Trust
An essential way nurses can help mentally ill patients is by building their trust. Many people who have mental health issues also have difficulty trusting others. Having trust between a patient and practitioner is extremely important. If the patients do not trust you, they will not express their feelings. It is why nurses must build a good relationship with the patients. They should assure the patient that they are only looking out for them and supporting them. Another way to build their trust is by providing good quality treatment. If they see you going the extra mile for them, it will automatically make them trust you. Many people also hesitate from treatment. But if you have built a trustworthy relationship with them, they will listen to you and opt for care. Once the patient becomes satisfied and feels they can trust the other, they will start having open conversations, which will help during the recovery process.
Have Good Communicative and Listening Skills
Once the patient trusts you, you must listen to them and properly converse with them. Having good listening skills is important as it allows the other person to speak freely. Listening also includes understanding the other individual’s feelings. If the patients are talking about something difficult, you should patiently listen to them without interrupting. You can also help them speak freely by telling them it is a safe environment for them. Having good communication skills allows the patient to understand you. You may talk in a manner that is easily understandable to them.
The most important thing nurses need to remember when dealing with mentally ill patients is empathy. They need to exhibit patience, understanding, and compassion. Nurses should not judge the behavior and always be respectful. They must realize that every individual they are helping is unique and needs attention in different ways. They cannot ignore the needs of the patient, even if they may seem insignificant. Nurses must also know the history and background of every individual. It allows them to know their patient better and helps them avoid any trigger activity that can cause distress to their patient. To do so, they need to be empathetic to ensure patient satisfaction.
Become an Advocate for Patients
With the increasing cost of therapy and medication, nurses can play a significant role in providing funding for mentally ill patients. The doctors do have a say, but the nurses outnumber them and can voice out their opinions. They can also keep some demands and carry out a campaign that makes the healthcare system for patients more accessible. The nurses can advocate for their patients and support those who need it. These patients already go through a lot of trauma. It is highly unfair on a patient to stop their treatment due to monetary reasons. The healthcare system should take action to change that. However, if this does not work, nurses can recommend other affordable therapy options.
Consult with Professionals
Once nurses do their part, they need to consult with professional psychiatrists. They can make a chart of their patient and then hand it over to the professional. They can help their patient during treatment as well as the doctor in briefing patient history. The chart should have every patient’s background, symptoms, triggers, etc. With careful management of such essential data, nurses must consult the doctors that have the expertise in this field. Once nurses involve a professional, the treatment process officially begins. However, since the nurses intervened, the patient will receive excellent treatment and quality care. They will also have a successful treatment.
You may not usually expect nurses to be able to help patients with mental health issues. However, nurses can pretty much do everything. They focus on looking after the overall health and well-being of their patients. It includes physical and mental health. They must remember that dealing with such patients can be tricky. It is why they must always observe patience, empathy, and compassion. If nurses compassionately provide care, the patient can feel better. With a bit of help from nurses, the stigma over mental health issues may finish once and for all.