Among medical professionals, the terms mental health consumerism and recovery have become part of their everyday professional dissertation (Austin, 2016). Regardless of the substantial investment by the government towards mental health endemics, the concept of mental health consumerism remains a challenge (Austin, 2016). Patients with mental illness and their families expressed their concern over the stigma and discriminatory attitudes they experience in health institutions and the community. They also voiced out that health professionals show discriminatory attitudes and negative, and they administer treatment based on diagnosis (Harmer, 2014). The social stigma regarding people living with mental health goes beyond any policies or laws made in support of this stigmatized population. (Harmer, 2014).
Mental health nurses are the primary care providers for people living with mental illness. According to Austin (2016), there is a need to desensitize the global community to remove the stigma associated with mental illness. Inclusion of health services is required by these people as well as embracing empowering attitudes and human dignity in providing care on the part of mental health nurses. Besides, this caters for their changing needs, from being an inpatient to going into the community. Nurses work directly with mentally ill people, hence, making them the most resourceful practitioners in terms of informing mentally disabled clients on any changes of care or treatment. Thus, nurses are considered as the most influential practitioners in the development and implementation of new policies as well as affirming, adjusting or challenging existing policies or laws to protect the rights and citizenship entitlements of people who are mentally disabled (Waidman et al., 2012).
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Globally, mental health nurses have a duty to safeguard human rights and citizenship of people living with mental illness. Also, nurses have a responsibility to promote a patient-focused approach of ethics which foster an environment whereby human rights, values, and beliefs of the individual and community are recognized and respected (Chiovitti, 2011). Further, nurses follow these standards through several crucial ways, which include being patient's communicator, promoter, intermediator, educator, and caregivers (Aggarwal, 2016). Often, nurses are faced with a challenge of balancing the ethical principles of duty and respecting patients'' choices (Chiovitti, 2011). The Theory of protective empowering allows mental health nurses to adjust patients’ autonomy and patient safety (Chiovitti, 2011). The Theory of protective empowering consists of six main classes which include, respecting the patient, ensuring the safety of the patient, avoiding personalizing patients’ behavior, reassuring health to the patient, fostering dependable relations, and cooperative learning.
Encompassing all the 6 six categories of protective empowering Theory, nurses provide a platform to assist patients to recover promoting independence based on their health, capabilities, and preferences. The patient's ability to make informed decisions or choices differs upon their health (Chiovitti, 2011). According to Cady (2010), when a client is admitted with a mental health disorder they may lose their abilities such as scheduling their time, decide on activities of daily living and if the client has been agreed to be legally incompetent, he/she may lose the power to control or manage legal, financial issues and make important personal decisions.
It is of great importance that nurses understand fundamental rights that patients with mental health illness are entitled to (Cady, 2010). Absence of rights makes the patients feel hopeless and powerless, and this negatively impacts the recovery among people living with mental health illness. Further, it is necessary for mental health nurses to encourage active participation through all stages of contact, that is from consultation, the process of diagnosis, treatment, care, discharge, and aftercare. Affording the opportunity and listening to their views or feelings about different issues is vital as it gives rooms for the options available so that the patient can make informed decisions. Nurses should respect and take a patient's decision seriously, even if they decline treatment. Recognizing the patient is achieved by acknowledging the patients'' adversity and agony without judgment.
Nurses’ management plan must be recovery orientated whereby the starting point of recovery would be acknowledging the patients wished/goals. (Leamy, 2011) Identified a research gap on recovery-oriented research and practice related to mental illness. These findings affirmed that in the health care regime, the process and of recovery, especially among people living with mental illness is not adequately addressed. This study gives as a clears understanding of stages and process of recovery by providing a structure around which clinical efforts adapt. The nurses' management plan must include the changing needs among individuals living with mental illnesses, ranging from inpatient services to a community support system.
It is recommended to adapt the Theory of protective empowering for clinical practice. The Theory gives patients Hope, and optimism, Connectedness, Identity, Meaning and purpose, and Empowerment (Aggarwal, 2016). Through the Theory of protective empowering, mentally ill patients develop a sense of self-identity, can rebuild their interpersonal relationships, and are empowered to have control over their lives. In other words, this Theory helps people living with mental illness find their way to being ''ordinary'' and recover their full human rights.
- Aggarwal, N. (2016). Empowering People with Mental Illness within Health Services. Acta Psychopathol, 2(4).
- Austin, W. (2016). Global health ethics and mental health Routledge Handbook of Global Mental Health Nursing (pp. 93-112): Routledge.
- Cady, R. F. (2010). A review of basic patient rights in psychiatric care. JONA'S healthcare law, ethics and regulation, 12(4), 117-125.
- Chiovitti, R. F. (2011). Theory of protective empowering for balancing patient safety and choices. Nursing ethics, 18(1), 88-101.
- Hamer, H. P., Finlayson, M., & Warren, H. (2014). Insiders or outsiders? Mental health service users' journeys towards full citizenship. International journal of mental health nursing,23(3), 203-211.
- Leamy, M., Bird, V., Le Boutillier, C., Williams, J., & Slade, M. (2011). Conceptual framework for personal recovery in mental health: systematic review and narrative synthesis. The Journal of Psychiatry, 199(6), 445-452.
- Waidman, M. A. P., Marcon, S. S., Pandini, A., Bessa, J. B., & Paiano, M. (2012). Nursing care for people with mental disorders, and their families, in primary care. Acta Paulista de Enfermagem, 25(3), 346-351.