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Learning Outcome 1: Understand the different views on the nature of mental well-being and mental health and the factors that may influence both across the life span
1.1 Evaluate two different views on the nature of mental wellbeing and mental health
A positive view on the nature of mental wellbeing and mental health is that health and well-being are interlinked and continuous effort is required to maintain health, whereas a negative view is that mental health is simply an absence of mental illness.
More and more studies are providing evidence that an individual’s mental health can be better maintained by taking a holistic approach to all areas of an individual’s well-being (the positive approach) rather than just treating the symptoms (the negative approach).
In fact, NHS and care staff are being encouraged to support individuals with mental health conditions to look at all aspects of their lives to promote their well-being. The feeling of being valued, having confidence, having a strong social network and other factors related to well-being can have a positive on an individual’s mental health. It is slowly being accepted that this proactive approach is both more successful and less costly over the long-term.
1.2 Explain the range of factors that may influence mental well-being and mental health problems across the life span, including: • biological factors • social factors • psychological factors • emotional factors
Many factors can influence an individual’s mental health over their lifespan. Often, an individual’s level of wellbeing in adulthood (and consequently their mental health) can be linked to experiences in their earlier lives, particularly during childhood and adolescence.
Biological factors can include physical illness, genetic disorders or even a chemical imbalance in an individual’s body. The experience of being ill (particularly long-term illness) or being different due to a genetic disorder or chemical imbalance can greatly affect an individual’s outlook in life and overall wellbeing.
Social factors can include poverty, deprivation, marginalisation and discrimination. Not having something that others have due to financial restrictions can feel unfair and affect an individual’s self-esteem. Similarly, experiences of marginalisation, discrimination, bullying or abuse can affect an individual’s self-worth and well-being.
Psychological factors can include things like abuse either caused by others such as physical abuse, domestic abuse etc. or caused by the individual themselves such as drug or alcohol abuse.
Emotional factors can be the result of life-changing events such as a bereavement, loss of job or breakdown in a relationship. These can cause overwhelming emotions that can have a large impact on an individual’s wellbeing and mental health.
1.3 Explain how risk factors and protective factors influence levels of resilience in individuals and groups in relation to mental well-being and mental health
There are several risk factors and protective factors that can influence an individual’s or a group’s resilience to mental wellbeing.
Risk factors are factors that increase the risk of an individual developing a mental health condition at some time in their lives. They could be the effects of trauma, abuse, discrimination, misuse of drugs or alcohol, isolation, other conditions or illnesses, low self esteem, lack of social interactions or lack finances.
Conversely, protective factors can reduce the likelihood of an individual developing a mental health condition. Things like having positive influences or role models, strong family and friend networks, participating in groups, a sense of belonging, feeling valued and living in a safe environment can all contribute to individual’s building a resilience to mental illness.
Learning Outcome 2: Know how to implement an effective strategy for promoting mental well-being and mental health with individuals and groups
2.1 Explain the steps that an individual may take to promote their mental well-being and mental health
Ideally, individuals should should not face a declination in their mental health and should seek support from others. This includes professional help, which would primarily begin with a visit to their local GP where they may be referred to the correct services as well as support from family and friends.
Involvement in the local community and participation in local groups and activities can also promote good mental health because it can counteract social isolation, help to build and maintain a network of friends, increase self confidence and self esteem and build a feeling of belonging and being valued, which can all contribute to positive wellbeing.
2.2 Explain how to support an individual in promoting their mental well-being and mental health
As care workers, we should all take a person-centred approach to our practice, which means recognising that each individual that we support is different and has unique needs, wishes and preferences. The individual should always be given choice and not feel as though decisions are being made for them by others.
Therefore, we should get to know individuals and understand their needs before we can support them in promoting their mental health and wellbeing.
Very often, individuals with mental health conditions need somebody to listen to them empathetically and compassionately. Active listening should be used to do this along with a non-judgemental approach. This can be very therapeutic for the individual and help to reduce stress.
Care workers may also be able to offer advice, although we should always refer individuals to others if the subject is beyond our experience or expertise. Similarly, professional boundaries should always be maintained and the differences between a personal and working relationship should be understood by both parties.
Encouraging individuals to partake in local groups and activities and build and maintain relationships with their family and friends can also help to promote an individual’s wellbeing.
2.3 Evaluate a strategy for supporting an individual in promoting their mental well-being and mental health
Evaluating a strategy for supporting an individual in promoting their mental well-being and mental health will initially involve collaborating with the individual to identify their needs and helping them to set to set their own individual goals and targets.
Once a plan or strategy is in place, it is essential that it is reviewed regularly to assess progress and identify any barriers or setbacks that may have occurred as well as working with the individual to find solutions to help overcome them. The review and evaluation is also an opportunity to make any changes to the plan or strategy going forward.
2.4 Describe key aspects of a local, national or international strategy to promote mental well-being and mental health within a group or community
There are several drives to promote mental well-being and mental health in the local, national and international arenas.
Internationally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) published the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 which has the following primary objectives:
- strengthen effective leadership and governance for mental health.
- provide comprehensive, integrated and responsive mental health and social care services in community-based settings.
- implement strategies for promotion and prevention in mental health.
- strengthen information systems, evidence and research for mental health.
On a national level, February 2016 saw the publication of The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health by the Independent Mental Health Taskforce to the NHS in England.
It recommended that the NHS have a far more proactive and preventative approach to mental health by offering 24/7 support (separate to A&E), integrating mental and physical health for a more holistic provision and the promotion of good mental health.
Locally, the Mental Health Challenge encourages local authorities to promote mental health and wellbeing in their communities by creating a motion to commit to this (based on their template) and appointing a champion to work with their local community.
2.5 Evaluate a local, national or international strategy to promote mental well-being and mental health within a group or community
In January 2017 in response to the taskforce’s Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, the NHS accepted all the recommendations that were within their remit and produced an implementation plan.
The NHS secured funding from the government and set about following through with their plan.
During the first year:
- Over 120,000 more people are expected to receive mental health care and treatment in priority services in 2016/17.
- The Mental Health Investment Standard is planned to be met across England as a whole in 2017/18 and 2018/19.
- The first national access standards for mental health treatment have come into effect – with the waiting time targets met.
- A new Mental Health Dashboard has been launched to provide unprecedented transparency of performance against key indicators.
- The first comprehensive all-age mental health workforce strategy has been co-produced for publication in April 2017.
Although not all milestones have been achieved, good progress has been made and individuals are already benefiting from the transformation of NHS services and the integration of mental and physical health.