Mental health tends to be treated quite differently from physical health due to people’s attitudes that mentally ill persons are violent. Mental health problems usually happen in a psychosocial context, and this implies that social factors have a significant role in the management of mental illnesses. Nurse practitioners (NPs) have a responsibility of ensuring that individuals with psychiatric mental health disorders have received adequate assistance to avoid stigma and discrimination. Angermeyer, Matschinger and Schomerus (2013) asserted that the perception that people have towards schizophrenia, as well as other mental disorders, has become a public concern, which should be considered by future anti-stigma campaigns.
Generally, NPs are involved in numerous services within healthcare, such as health promotion, diagnosis of acute and complex health problems, disease prevention, as well as counseling individuals, families, and communities. According to Chilton (2015), NPs are capable of treating patients with unique needs, in addition to advocating for healthcare policy that have a significant impact on patients.
Although several campaigns have been done to change people’s attitudes on mental illnesses, society is still apprehensive of people who suffer from mental illnesses, and culture may be blamed for this suspicion. Culture is essential in bringing people together, but it creates human variations, which make people to perceive mental health illnesses in a different way (Jenkins, 2012). Consequently, NPs should intervene by educating the community on how to accept individuals with mental illnesses and assisting them to seek medical assistance in their localities.
As an NP, I can contribute to social change by being an advocate in educating the community on how to handle people with mental health disorders by viewing them as physically challenged, rather than criminals or violent persons. Mental illnesses should be recognized as physical health issues in order to encourage individuals with mental health illnesses to seek treatment, as well as other forms of assistance (Bennett, 2015). My responsibility is to convince community leaders to offer favorable environments that can promote healthy behaviors, such as organizing local tournaments where young people can interact through sports.
Collaboration of NPs with community partners can assist in meeting the individualized needs for patients with mental illnesses. As an agent of social change, I am willing to work with other healthcare professionals to offer health services within the community and ensure that individuals with mental illnesses are accepted as other ordinary people in the community. The social stigma that individuals with mental challenges experience result from the lack of understanding the conditions they are in, as well as lacking someone to share their experiences (Bennett, 2015). Talking to the mentally ill individuals can help in fulfilling their aspirations and discovering their strengths.
Since NPs are charged with the responsibility of prescribing medication to all types of illnesses, they can contribute to social change by offering pharmacological therapy to the mentally ill patients, so that they can be relieved caregivers the burden of taking care of such individuals. Most caregivers and primary care providers lack sufficient training to handle individuals with mental illnesses; hence, the promotion of mental well-being by NPs through medication counseling can help in promoting social change in community-based settings (Kverno, 2016). My role in this context is to identify individuals who have failed to recover through counseling and involve them in the treatment plan that would enhance their recovery.