To be able to address mental health concerns, a primary mental health care facility should consider structured care pathways and protocols on promoting mental health and wellness, preventing mental illness, alleviating pain and suffering due to mental health problems, restoring mental health, and creating a spiritual environment. Promoting mental health and wellness. At all times, health promotion is very important at any setting. Mental health promotion is both for the healthy and the sick. The most common subject being promoted is healthy lifestyle.
A primary mental health care should promote right, well-balanced nutrition, especially on foods for the brain (Avian Web, 2006). Dietary changes for mental health illness sufferers should also be emphasized (Goodwin, 2010). Physical fitness is also an integral promotion. Experts cite that aerobic exercises improves self-value, reduces anxiety or fear of the unknown, relieves depression, acts as meditation that changes the state of consciousness and provides distraction from stressors. Proper sleep, rest and relaxation should also be promoted.
Another concern that should be promoted is the prevention of drug and alcohol misuse. Drugs and alcohol has direct effect on the mentality of the person. Health education on this matter should be emphasized. Smoking cessation or restriction is another important matter to promote. From time immemorial, smoking has damaged people’s vital organs, including the brain, which is the main organ for mentality. Also, it has been evident that mothers who misuse drugs and alcohol and who smoke give birth to innocent children suffering from inborn mental problem.
This calls for a primary mental health care facility to conduct health education from time to time. Preventing mental illness. The popular line goes: An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Preventing mental illness aims to maintain optimal health. The best prevention of mental health problem occurrence is general status check-up. As mentioned, physical and mental aspects go together. It is important that the physical body be well taken cared of so that mental problems will not arise. Activities such as prenatal and infant care and immunization count much in the prevention of some mental disorders.
Also, going to a psychological check-up or counseling is not bad; in fact, it helps a lot. Indeed, prevention is a major function of a primary mental health care unit. Pain or suffering alleviation. The fact that there are people suffering from mental health problem is inevitable. Thus, it is the duty of primary mental health care personnel to provide services for pain relief incurred from the mental health problem and to promote comfortable healing process. Pain for a mental health patient can be either emotional or physical, usually both.
For emotional pain, a primary mental health care unit is responsible to teach and provide techniques to relieve the problem such as meditations (Belle, 2010), counseling, support group, to name a few. For physical pain, pain relievers may be administered with a doctor’s order and techniques may also be taught like deep breathing exercises, guided self imagery, bibliotherapy, and other psychotherapy. Restoring mental health. This function may be the hardest and longest part not unless the client is willing to be rehabilitated and get well from his disturbed state.
This effort starts from when the mental disorder was detected and ends until the client is back in his normal state. In this case, there is a mentally ill client. It is then the responsibility of a primary mental health care unit to provide direct care to the client. Assessment and diagnostic procedures are important for the treatment regimen of the client. Data gathered from these will provide evidence-based treatment regimen. Medications should be judiciously administered and specific treatments and procedures like laboratory or electroconvulsive therapy should be prudently done.
Some of the interventions done in the primary setting are cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, family-focused therapy, psychodynamic therapy, light therapy, expressive or creative arts therapy, animal-assisted therapy, and play therapy (National Institute of Mental Health, 2009). Collaboration with other concerned health care professionals such as referral is also a vital function of the primary mental health care workers. Nevertheless, health teaching should always be provided especially on recovery activities. Creation of spiritual environment.
Spiritual care is a fundamental aspect that is always overlooked. Oftentimes, the first four functions are the ones implemented by primary mental health care facilities. With a spiritual environment, clients are assured to live comforted and well-supported. To end, since a primary mental health care is the first contact of a client before being referred to a higher level of health care system, it is then important that it should observe principles and strategies for a more effective and efficient delivery of mental health services; that is, to always deliver health care services directed to the client.
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