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How Nurses Help in the Prevention of Mental Illness

More than 46 million American adults have a mental illness. This can vary greatly in severity, ranging from mild to disabling, and it’s one of the leading causes of disability. Despite these worrying statistics, most people with mental illnesses often don’t get mental health services, leading to debilitating effects such as a shorter life expectancy. Mental health is critical for ensuring the health and well-being of individuals and societies.

Dealing with mental illnesses requires getting appropriate treatment and quality care round-the-clock. And mental health nurses play a vital role in providing primary healthcare to patients with mental illness, improving their health and ability to cope with everyday stress and positively and productively contribute to the community. Online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs equip you with the knowledge and skills to provide quality mental healthcare and patient education. In this post, we’ll look at the role nurses play in the prevention of mental illnesses:

1. Primary Health Care

One of the roles of nurses in preventing mental illnesses is providing primary healthcare to patients. Many factors can cause mental illnesses, from childhood abuse to long-term health conditions. For instance, if you’ve been involved in a fatal car accident, you’ll likely experience shock and trauma. Left untreated, this can worsen, leading to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Psychiatric nurses can assess your mental state and identify any symptoms and signs of mental health issues you might be exhibiting. Then, provide primary care and help you obtain the treatment you need to overcome mental distress. Nurses build relationships with their patients by listening to their complaints and counseling them accordingly in a non-judgmental and compassionate way, helping improve their mental health. For severe mental illnesses, nurses may request a doctor’s referral for advanced care for their patients.

2. Developing a Treatment Plan

Effective treatments have been shown to help many patients recover from their mental illnesses. However, there’s always the likelihood of relapsing even after recovering from a mental health condition. Through professional help and therapies, patients with mental illnesses can fully recover from their condition, enabling them to cope better with the stresses and lead a more meaningful life.

Psychiatric nurses collaborate with other healthcare experts like psychiatrists and psychotherapists to develop and implement personalized treatment plans that best suit each patient. For instance, nurses can work with patients to understand what triggers their mental distress. They then share that information with a doctor to develop advanced treatment plans and prescribe medications to help patients with mental health issues improve their functioning and overall well-being.

3. Contribution to Mental Health Policies

Nurses can also help reduce mental health cases by advocating for people with mental illnesses. Since nurses have regular interactions with patients, they can provide invaluable insights concerning issues that can impact treatment for mental health patients. Nurses can be great advocates for the development of new policies that improve the quality of care and promote the well-being of patients.

This can help reshape mental health policies to be more patient-focused. For instance, the new policies could give nurses the liberty to assess, diagnose, and develop treatment plans when necessary without the supervision of a doctor. They can also advocate for more funding to ensure patients receive quality mental health services at affordable rates.


Nurses play a huge role in supporting patients’ overall well-being and satisfaction. By providing quality, compassionate care to people with mental illnesses, nurses help them improve their mental state and better cope with everyday stresses.