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Expounding On The Status Of Mental Health Education In Australia (Essay Sample)


The assignment was an essay to expound on the status of mental health education in Australia.

Mental Health Education in Australia Student’s Name Institution: Date: Mental Health Education in Australia For the first time in history, mental health has become a key issue in the upcoming Presidential elections. Presidential candidates from the major parties are promising to look into mental health should they be elected as president. According to Butler (2016), all the major parties: the Labor Party, the Greens, and The Coalition have promised to devote more funding to the improvement of mental health in Australia. The ongoing campaigns have seen both Bill Shorten and Malcom Turnbull give mental health a key spot in their speeches. The issue has been largely ignored in the past, but it accounts for 13% of the country’s disease burden (Butler, 2016). As alarming as this is, only 9% of the total federal health funding is dedicated to metal health. In every three hours, an Australian citizen commits suicide as cases of anxiety and depression increase. This only increases the urgency that mental health in Australia should be treated with. The most viable way to solve the mental health problem is through introducing consumer-centered healthcare in the field of mental health. Mental Health Issues in Australia People with mental sicknesses are often the most disadvantages people in the society. They face numerous challenges in their day-to-day lives and discrimination from other people. Australia is no different from the rest of the world; patients with mental illnesses often face stigma, rejection, and discrimination. There is a need to change the public’s perceptions about mental illnesses. In most cases, when one is diagnosed with a mental illness, the patient is misled into thinking that it is the end of life or that they can no longer lead a meaningful life (Harvey & O’Hanlon, 2013). The situation becomes worse when one is rejected or ridiculed by the society. The existing statistics on mental health in Australia justify the urgency that should be given to this area. In a year, approximately 20% of the total population experiences a mental sickness. One person in every five Australia citizens will be faced with a mental disease annually (Butler, 2016). The illnesses vary from serious ones like schizophrenia to more common and less alarming diseases such as depression and anxiety. Mental diseases remain the third leading cause of the disability burden in the country. The government can no longer afford to be complacent on the significance of improving the efficiency of the delivery of health services. The improvement of service delivery will aid in relieving the burden of mental health. Mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression lead to increased cases of suicide in Australia. It is estimated that an individual commits suicide every three hours due to mental disorders. Improving the condition of mental health will not only be effective in relieving the government’s financial burden, but also in helping save lives. Consumer-Centered Care There are numerous definitions of consumer-centered care, but it is unanimous that it refers to the delivery of healthcare services in a way that ensures that all the relevant partners, including patients, their families, and the care givers, benefit mutually (Vanderplasschen et al., 2013). In a consumer-centered setting, extensive discussions are carried out between the patient and health care professionals before any decision making. This ensures that patients are active participants and do not feel that decisions are imposed on them. The provision of education is a necessity for consumer-centered care to take place (Schwartz et al., 2013). Nurses often provide the required education to the consumers and their families, including education on mental health and other illnesses. This is done in various ways such as one-on-one sessions with patients and their families or holding open public events where citizens are educated on mental health. Other ways of educating the public include the use of the media, both traditional and digital, to sensitize the public. The role played by nurses in the delivery of health care is a big one as they are in direct contact with the patients. The delivery of consumer-centered care is totally reliant on nurses, and the importance of fostering a healthy relationship between nurses and their patients cannot be overemphasized. Consumer-centered care advocates for more participation from the patients during the decision-making process (Jorm, 2012). Involving mental health patients in decision making has been proved to increase the efficiency of service delivery as well as make the work done by nurses easier. However, patients cannot contribute much in the decision-making process if they do not have the relevant information about the ailments from which they are suffering. The provision of education to mental health patients and their families is a crucial aspect. If the incoming government keeps its promise in improving mental health, the best way to do this is through facilitating the delivery of mental health education to consumers. The delivery of education about mental health to consumers can only be carried out by nurses. The role played by nurses in the delivery of health care is significance since they are in direct contact with patients (Stuart, 2014). Mental health education can be delivered to consumers in some ways. Patients and their families can be taken through counseling sessions once an individual is diagnosed with a mental illness. Public seminars where members of the public are given information about mental illnesses can also be carried out to educate the public on mental health issues. The government can also sponsor campaigns in the media to sensitize the public on various mental illnesses that exist and how to handle them effectively. This can be done through traditional media such as newspapers, television, and radio or digital media such as social media, blogs, and websites. To reach people of all ages effectively, the media campaign should be carried out using both traditional and digital media. Benefits of Providing Mental Health Education There are several benefits of providing mental health education to patients. Being diagnosed with a mental problem such as schizophrenia is not the end of life. Anyone is at risk of contracting a mental illness; for instance, symptoms of schizophrenia are common in people between the age of 16 and 30 years, but can also be found in children in very rare cases. Depression and anxiety affect people of all ages. The provision of education on mental illnesses is significant to not only the patients, but to their families and the care givers too. Mental health education gives the patients hope and the positivity that is needed to live a meaningful life. Being diagnosed with a mental illness is devastating to an individual and the people who care about them; patients feel that their life has lost meaning after such a diagnosis. Medical care providers, especially nurses, are responsible for giving hope to such individuals. Nurses perform a hard task of proving to the patients that the diagnosis is not a life-sentence and that, with the right treatment, they can lead normal lives. Providing mental health education arms patients and their families with the knowledge and skills to face the challenges that are ahead of them. Living with a mental illness such as schizophrenia is not easy as one is bound to experience symptoms such as lack of pleasure in life, dysfunctional thinking, hallucinations and reduced speaking. Education helps the family members and caregivers understand and help such a patient in a better way. It is important for family members to understand their patients so as to provide the support they need during the duration of treatment. Mental health education equips the patients and their families with the information that is needed to participate in decision-making processes. Consumer-centered care emphasizes on the delivery of health care services in a manner that benefits the patients, their families, and the medical care providers. According to Chong et al., (2013), one of the ways through which this can be achieved is through encouraging patients’ participation in decision-making processes; this helps patients make better and well-informed choices in as far as their treatment is concerned. Providing mental health education is also helpful in fostering healthy relationships between nurses and their patients. In the course of educating the patient, a close relationship develops between the patient and the nurse. The relationship is crucial; it helps the patient to develop trust in the nurses and be in a better position to share their opinions and feelings during the duration of treatment. The provision of mental health education makes the nurses’ work easier and more efficient. When patients are part of the decision-making process, they are more willing to cooperate with their care providers. They feel that they are part of the treatment to be carried out and are less resistant to treatment, which makes the work of the nurses easier and more efficient. Mental health education also enables patients to receive valuable information on how to maintain healthy lifestyles; they learn about healthy foods and exercise. The nurses also provide the support and encouragement that is needed for the patients and their families to face the challenges, which lie ahead of them after the diagnosis. Barriers to the Delivery of Mental Health Education in Australia The provision of mental health education is currently underway in Australia, but a lot remains to be done. If the elected President were to keep his promises concerning the improvement of mental health, service delivery would be more efficient. There are several barriers that hinder the delivery of education on mental health. According to Mojtabai et al. (2011), insufficient funds are a maj...
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