It is an open fact that people diagnosed with mental disorders sufferers a raw deal. Their rights are trampled upon willy-nilly and they as a result are subjected to human rights abuses, rampant stigma and discrimination!
The UN Human Rights office observes that people diagnosed with mental health conditions experience higher rates of poor physical health largely because of stigma and discrimination. Because of their prevailing mental health, their physical health is often neglected. We need to avail health services to all despite mental illness diagnosis!
People diagnosed with mental disorders are often deemed to be unable to take rational decisions which makes unruly individuals to trample on their rights by taking decisions on their behalf. We unceremoniously dismiss those diagnosed with mental illness from work on the basis of illness and not ability. It must be noted that mental health conditions differs and most individuals can take rational decisions. Those diagnosed with mental health conditions can be fully employed, vote and play a meaningful role in the community!
Those with mental health conditions are denied education on account of illness. We have quite a number of individuals diagnosed with mental health conditions who have been successful in their studies!
Most admissions to mental health institutions admissions are unjustifiable as some relatives manufacture stories for them to be admitted. The reasons may be that they want to go for holidays or even not wanting friends to see that they have someone with mental illness during weddings. This is grossly unfair! The following can help enforce human rights towards those diagnosed with mental disorders; Having a mental policy and legislative framework that promotes human rights and dignity(A good thing is the current Mental health Act is undergoing review to align with human rights) There is need to break the barricade of human rights abuse by bringing perpetrators to book.
Stigma is an enabler to human rights abuses and must be stopped! People with mental disorders deservedly have human rights too, uplifting their rights augurs well for their mental health!
INTERNATIONAL NURSES DAY: REFLECTING ON THE MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES OF NURSES
Today’s reflection will be on the Nurses’’ day that was celebrated worldwide on the 12th of May. The day is celebrated in remembrance of the birth Florence Nightingale who is the pioneer of modern day professional nursing. The theme for this year is “Nurses: A voice to lead-Health for All.”
Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system as in every health care facility they are there to provide care. They are the single largest group of professionals in the clinical field.
The crux of the discussion is that professional nurses experience burnout and workplace stress because of the nature of the demands of the nursing job. These emanate from working long hours, emotional exhaustion from dealing with vulnerable and ailing clientele, experience of traumatic events, fulfilment of high professional and public expectations and low reward outcomes for their efforts.
The nurses’ already volatile ordeal is further compounded by incidences of nurses being assaulted, emotionally abused, physically abused, sexually assaulted and cyber bullied by the same individuals that they seek to render care for.
The above highlighted challenges can be emotionally draining to the nurses and even facilitate development of mental health problems if they are not attended to promptly. This has been affirmed by various studies.
A review paper done by Vasconcelos and others in 2016 highlighted that the risk of exposure to HIV and poor relationships with administrators as other associated factors that facilitated development of mental disorders.
The review found the following as affecting most of our nurses; post-traumatic stress disorder, acute stress reaction, generalised anxiety disorder, depression and over indulgence in substances.
Nursing managers, the patients as well members of the community need to play a pivotal role in ensuring protective factors towards nurses’ mental health are availed.
The good thing is that this can be ensured by helping nurse build resilience, having debriefing sessions for nurses working in trauma care and having measures like retreats to name but a few. Nurses need to be healthy for them to be custodians for “health for all”.
WHAT WE EAT CAN AFFECT OUR MENTAL HEALTH
I had a chat with friend over the weekend and he felt that dieticians placed at psychiatric hospitals are misplaced. The basis of today discussion will be herein a response to this.
Nutrition does play a critical role in mental health hence the need for dieticians to be involved in this field as it is the case now. As noted by the research team led by Joseph Firth, “nutritional deficiencies resulting from insufficient intake of nutrients critical to human health are a risk factor for psychiatric and mental disorders.”
Our brains needs food for them to function optimally. Concentration, memory, analysing to name but a few can all be attained by a “well fed brain.” If the brain is deprived of nutrients, it can incur oxidative stress which results in brain cell damage. Brain cells are irreplaceable and their damage facilitates the development of some mental disorders Experience of mental health problems may also be associated with poorer diet and physical health.
Poor nutrition has been implicated in the onset of schizophrenia by various research findings. Studies on schizophrenia patients indicated that the nutrients Zinc and Selenium were found to be compromised whilst in others there was insufficient Vitamin D deficiency.
Other research conducted has determined that the following supplements: zinc, magnesium, omega 3, and vitamins B and D3 are essential in elevating people’s mood, relieving anxiety and depression. Insufficient Omega-3 fatty acids has additionally been linked to low mood, poor concentration, cognitive decline and poor comprehension.
It is clear from the discussion that good nutrition is critical for our mental health and that dieticians are relevant in mental health. An affordable balanced diet which contains the essential nutrients is necessary to be taken to ensure that mental health is uplifted. Nutrition alone cannot ensure our mental but it has a significant adjunctive role. As posited by local author Lindo Morolong, “what you feed your body shapes your health.”
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