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It's Time Nurse to Create your Mental Health Care Plan!

Updated: Dec 8, 2023


Trauma and nurses: the importance of self-compassion. What is your care plan for your mental health?

If you have been suffering with your mental health for some time and have been discussing with your doctor how to move forward and improve your mental health, they may have mentioned a mental health care plan.

Remembering trauma can substantially impact one's mental health, particularly in high-stress occupations such as nursing is vital. Nurses are frequently exposed to stressful incidents on the job, and the impact of these events can compound over time, leading to burnout and other mental health issues.


Self-compassion is essential to caring for your mental health as a nurse or anyone who has endured trauma. This includes being compassionate, understanding, and accepting of yourself, even during difficult times. Self-compassion is a valuable strategy for stress reduction and overall well-being.


Alongside self-compassion, establishing a mental health care plan might be beneficial. A mental health care plan provides continuous assistance for persons who have received mental health input from various services and have been suffering from a mental health illness for more than six months. The plan often outlines specific goals, interventions, and methods for symptom management and relapse prevention.


While not everyone requires a formal mental health care plan, creating a personalized care plan for oneself might be beneficial. Setting objectives, finding stress-management strategies, and seeking help from trusted friends, family members, or mental health experts may all be part of this process.


Finally, prioritizing your mental health is critical for sustaining general well-being and quality of life, particularly for individuals who have suffered trauma or work in high-stress occupations such as nursing. You may improve your mental health and have a more fulfilling life by practising self-compassion and adopting a care plan that works for you.



What is a mental health care plan, and do I need one?

It's critical to prioritize your mental and physical health." But how does that work in practice? How can you be sure you're getting the help you need? A mental health care plan is one alternative. Have you considered whether a mental health care plan could be helpful in your healing journey? Remember that seeking treatment for mental health issues is not a show of weakness; it takes tremendous fortitude to recognize when you need help and take action to improve your well-being.


According to the Australian government's Head to Health website, if you've been battling a mental health issue for over six months, a mental health care plan can help guarantee that you receive continuing treatment. This could include input from various agencies and specialists and crisis management and prevention efforts. However, following a mental health care plan is ultimately personal. Consider your options while reflecting on your needs, goals, and the type of assistance most beneficial.


A mental health advocate, Glenn Close, says, 'What mental health needs are more sunlight, candour, and unabashed communication.' So, don't be afraid to talk openly and honestly with your healthcare provider about your mental health difficulties and whether a healthcare plan would suit you.




What if I still want to create goals to improve my mental health?

Setting objectives can significantly enhance your mental health even if you don't have an official care plan. What do you hope to accomplish? Is there a particular habit or behaviour you'd like to modify or a skill you'd like to learn? Do any activities or experiences help you feel more centred and at ease? How can you make time in your life for those things? Remember to be kind to yourself and to create realistic goals for yourself. What little steps can you take today to help you get closer to your goals? Celebrate your progress, and don't hesitate to ask for help when needed. Your mental health is valuable, and you have the ability to effect positive change in your life.


Even if you don't have an official mental health care plan, you can still set goals and celebrate achievements at home.

  • What simple goals may you make for yourself to improve your mental health?

  • How do you like to recognize your accomplishments and progress?

  • Have you ever used a notebook or planner to keep track of your mental health goals?

  • Do you have any hobbies or activities that you enjoy that you could add to your self-care routine?

  • What positive affirmations or mantras could you employ to keep yourself motivated and on track with your mental health goals?

  • Have you considered seeking accountability and support from a friend or loved one in your mental health journey?

  • Can you do anything with applications or online tools to help you keep organized and motivated with your mental health goals?


By answering these questions, you can create a personalized mental health care plan that works for you and helps you reach your goals. Remember that self-compassion and self-care are essential components of good mental health.


Consider the steps below to help develop your own care plan for your mental health.



Five Steps to mental well-being


You can take five main steps to help improve your mental health.

  1. Connect with others- Building strong positive relationships with a range of others can help build your confidence and emotional support network.

  2. Keep active- Any kind of exercise helps release endorphins in the brain, positively elevating your mood and self-esteem. Exercise can also strengthen your muscles and build your overall stamina.

  3. Learn a new skill- This will give you a sense of purpose whilst boosting your self-confidence.

  4. Give back to others- Research shows that showing kindness and giving your time to others helps improve your well-being.

  5. Practice mindfulness- stay present in the moment by taking part in relaxation and mindfulness activities to affect your mind and body positively.



Lower your stress levels

Another good way to improve your mental health is learning to control your stress levels.


Although you can't avoid all stressors, working on your stress management skills can help you maintain a sense of control during difficult situations.


Things that can help you manage your stress levels include:


● Interacting with others

● Increase a calming sensory input- such as taking a bubble bath, listening to your favourite music, or participating in your favourite hobby.

● Make 'you' time a priority and unwind at the end of a busy day or week

● Appreciate the good things in your life- this could be as simple as jumping into bed when you've changed the sheets

● Develop relaxation techniques

● Consider the therapeutic effects pets can help on stress levels



Should you seek professional help?

If you feel you have made every effort to tackle your mental health issues on your own and don't feel an improvement, it is essential to speak to your health provider to find out what help is available. Speaking to a medical professional for reassurance that you can feel better can sometimes be the push we need to fully commit to improving our mental health.


Are you struggling with your mental health but hesitant to seek assistance? Have you attempted everything but are still not making progress? Do you need clarification as to whether you should contact a professional? Remember that pursuing mental health assistance is not a sign of weakness. Speaking with a medical professional can provide reassurance and direction regarding the best way to enhance your health. Take your time; seek the assistance you deserve immediately.



Reflection

  1. Do you think you would benefit from developing a mental health care plan?

  2. Do you need professional input, or can you create one at home to follow?

  3. What steps could you take to help lower your stress levels?

  4. Have you seen any mood, behaviour, or overall well-being changes that might signal the need for professional mental health care?

  5. What self-care practices have you discovered beneficial in maintaining your mental health, and how can you incorporate them into your daily routine?

  6. Who, whether a friend, family member, or mental health professional, can you turn to for support and encouragement on your mental health journey?


 

Sources:

The World Health Organization (WHO) provides a list of mental health resources by country: https://www.who.int/mental_health/resources/country/en/

Mental Health America has a list of international resources: https://www.mhanational.org/international-resources

The International Association for Suicide Prevention has a directory of crisis centers worldwide: https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has resources and helplines for different countries: https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/NAMI-HelpLine/International-Resources


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