Advocacy is one of the core aspects of nursing professions and is considered an ethic of nursing practice. Advocacy is an essential practice that is important in influencing social change and promoting better nursing practices. This discussion explores how I can steer positive social changes in my community.
Positively Influencing Social Change
Being a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP), I must advocate for mental health issues. I endeavor to be actively involved in eliminating the stigma faced by individuals with mental health issues. Many individuals with mental health problems come from communities that discriminate against them and hold prejudices, beliefs, and behaviors that make it harder for those living with mental health issues to receive proper treatment or help (Mannarini & Rossi, 2019). Given this issue, an approach that I can use to positively impact how the community views mental health issues is through community education to create awareness for individuals on the issues affecting people with mental health issues – especially risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment.
According to Ahuja, Dhillon, Juneja, and Sharma (2017), educating the community on what is mental health and how people with mental health issues feel can help to change the perspectives of the community about mental health. Educative strategies targeting the normative behaviors of the community will help the public to better understand how mental health issues develop and why the community needs to support individuals with mental health issues rather than stigmatize them. As a change agent, this will represent the process of speaking up for those who may not be able to speak for themselves through community campaigns for better community health outcomes (Rafferty, 2017).
Another way in which I will become a change agent for mental health is by motivating people to discover the reason why supporting individuals with mental health is needed. According to Cosejo (2018), motivation increases the person’s desire to change, and as a social-change agent, I will assume the role of an instructor, facilitator, and motivator to facilitate the understanding of mental health issues at both the individual and community levels. With the backing of empirical evidence, I can lead change through championing mental health at different levels.
Advocating for the Community
An approach I can use to advocate for change in my community includes providing expertise in public forums to improve the understanding of mental health issues. This involves using my expertise in mental health to persuade not only the community leaders but also those in authority regarding issues about mental health. I can also lobby for mental health issues by sharing the statistics, stories, and other information related to mental health with community leaders and elected leaders. These strategies will enable the development of effective partnerships that can enhance support directed at promoting mental health in my community (Williams, Phillips, & Koyama, 2018).
In addition to the above strategies, I can advocate for my community by joining or forming civic interest groups. By forming joint partnerships and/or special interests’ groups about mental health, I can facilitate continuing community partnerships that will help manage mental health issues (Carter, et al., 2010). It will also enable me to develop specific mental health initiatives that will continually foster the management of the mental health needs in the community.
Ahuja, K. K., Dhillon, M., Juneja, A., & Sharma, B. (2017). Breaking barriers: An education and contact intervention to reduce mental illness stigma among Indian college students. Psychosocial Intervention, 26(2), 103-109. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psi.2016.11.003
Carter, N., Martin-Misener, R., Kilpatrick, K., Kaasalainen, S., Donald, F., Bryant-Lukosius, D., . . . DiCenso, A. (2010). The role of nursing leadership in integrating clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners in healthcare delivery in Canada. Nursing Leadership, 23, 167-185. doi:10.12927/cjnl.2010.22274
Cosejo, D. (2018). Nurse – As the Change Agent. Retrieved from https://www.rnspeak.com/nurse-as-the-change-agent/
Mannarini, S., & Rossi, A. (2019). Assessing mental illness stigma: A complex issue. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 2722. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02722
Rafferty, A. M. (2017). Nurses as change agents for a better future in health care: The politics of drift and dilution. Health Economics, Policy, and Law, 13(3-4), 475-491. doi:https://doi.org/10.1017/S1744133117000482
Williams, S., Phillips, J., & Koyama, K. (2018). Nurse advocacy: Adopting a health in all policies approach. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 23(3), online. doi:10.3912/OJIN.Vol23No03Man01
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