Doctor of Nursing Practice
Family Nurse Practioner
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
mental health, nurse, stigma, mental illness, self care
Mary Ellen Burke
Background: Mental health disorders affect 20% of adults in the United States and nurses experience mental illness and substance abuse at rates that are similar or higher to the general population. Due to the stressful and emotionally demanding nature of their profession, nurses are at a higher risk for developing or exacerbating mental health disorders. Mental health stigma and lack of awareness of resources are both significant barriers to accessing mental health care. Evidence has shown positive results with providing education about mental illness and increasing awareness of and access to resources for mental healthcare, self-care and stress management. Purpose: To decrease the barriers and stigma related to accessing mental health care among acute care registered nurses. Method: A unit based educational intervention was delivered to nurses in an acute care setting. The nurses completed The Opening Minds Scale for Health Care Providers (OMS-HC) questionnaire to assess baseline mental health knowledge, attitudes, and willingness to seek treatment. An educational presentation was provided immediately after the pre-questionnaire. Education and resources about mental health treatment, self-care, and stress management were also available around the unit. After one month, the nurses completed the same questionnaire and results were analyzed to assess for change. Results: A slight decrease in stigma and increase in willingness to seek mental health care was shown one month after the educational intervention. The qualitative data presented with two common themes: curiosity about the topic and openness to discuss mental health. Conclusion: Nurses are crucial to the healthcare system and should prioritize their mental healthcare to improve patient outcomes and live overall healthier and happier lives. Consistent education and awareness are needed to decrease stigma and increase willingness to seek care.
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