Week 4 Journal
During my practicum as a family nurse practitioner (FNP), I came across a 16-year old female with depression. As an FNP, I was often the first to see patients with mental disorders. An FNP can diagnose and provide treatment to patients with uncomplicated mental disorders like anxiety and depression, within their scope of practice (Balestra, 2019). The patient reported and presented symptoms such as increased appetite, sadness, crying outbursts, irritation, increased weight, insomnia, concentration difficulties, social withdrawal, and feeling hopeless and worthless. Since in the context of primary care I was seeing the client for health needs and the depression was acute, I was able to successfully diagnose the patient for depression and prescribe sertraline as the first-line treatment. I collaborated with a mental health provider in the organization during the initial diagnosis and the period management of the patient.
In line with my short-term goals, after handling this patient I decided to become involved in advocacy activities for people with mental illnesses within the organization and the community. I often sensitized community members about mental health conditions to reduce the stigmatization of people with mental health illnesses. I also educated the community members and the patients who visited the organization to actively seek medical attention without fear whenever faced with a mental health condition. According to Mannarini & Rossi (2019) people with mental health problems normally face social stigma associated with mental illnesses and this makes prevents people from seeking treatment and also make recovery difficult. Therefore, sensitizing the community about mental illness is the first step towards reducing the social stigma associated with mental ill-health (Stuart, 2016).
Balestra, M. L. (2019). Family nurse practitioner scope of practice issues when treating patients with mental health issues. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 15(7), 479-482.
Mannarini, S., & Rossi, A. (2019). Assessing Mental Illness Stigma: A Complex Issue. Frontiers in psychology, 9, 2722. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02722.
Stuart H. (2016). Reducing the stigma of mental illness. Global mental health (Cambridge, England), 3, e17. https://doi.org/10.1017/gmh.2016.11.