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Introduction to Mental Health Primary Care

Published on Oct 01, 2013 and last reviewed on Nov 10, 2022   -  4 min read

Abstract

Are you aware of the inclusion of mental health services in primary health care? Read the article below to learn about it.

Contents
Introduction to Mental Health Primary Care

What Is Mental Health Primary Care?

In a developing nation like India, access to primary health care resources is still inferior. Therefore, expert mental health services are challenging to provide. Promotion of awareness then becomes increasingly necessary in such situations. However, the reason behind giving first aid is to provide initial treatment before the patient can receive adequate medical attention at higher centers. The same is true for first aid in mental health problems. Before receiving expert treatment from professionals, mental health first aid is given to a person with some mental illness or mental health crisis. Mental health first aid teaches people to recognize common mental illness symptoms, provide initial help, and take that person for additional professional assistance.

Mental health first aid or primary care is an awareness program. The 'mental health primary care' includes a training program of two days that enhances the basic knowledge and includes awareness lectures about the following most common mental health problems:

  1. Introduction to mental health.

  2. Depression.

  3. Anxiety disorder.

  4. Psychosis.

  5. Substance-related problems.

Why Is There a Need for Mental Health Primary Care?

The reasons for its implementation are:

  1. Mental health problems are widespread. They are present in every community.

  2. There is a stigma associated with mental illness, and because of that, people do not seek professional help.

  3. There is not enough awareness about mental illness. Usually, mental health problems are ascribed to witchcraft, possession, sorcery, weakness of mind, etc.

  4. There are professionals available to treat these issues. So, to make use of the available sources, it is necessary to increase awareness.

How to Recognize Mental Health Problems?

There are five basic criteria or important steps through which a person should approach a patient with mental health problems. These are:

  1. The risk of suicide should be assessed.

  2. Listening to the patient without any preformed notions (non-judgmentally).

  3. Giving information about the mental illness and reassuring the patient and the family members.

  4. Encouraging the patient to take appropriate professional help like from psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric social workers, psychiatric nurses, etc.

  5. Giving information about self-help strategies and encouraging the patient and his family members to use them.

What Are the Advantages of the Mental Health Primary Care Program?

Integration of mental health services into primary healthcare has the following advantages:

What Are the Challenges of the Mental Health Primary Care Program?

The challenges that might need to be addressed in the integration of mental health into primary healthcare services are as follows:

  1. Inclusion into primary healthcare services requires investment in the training of professionals and other staff members.

  2. The primary healthcare workers can show reluctance in dealing with patients affected by mental issues.

  3. The overburdening of professionals with work may happen as the duties will increase, so more workers need to be included in the team.

  4. The primary care workers may lack proper supervision and availability, so they should be supervised appropriately, and their availability should be maintained.

  5. There may also be an absence of a good referral system between primary care and higher levels which can severely decrease the effectiveness of mental healthcare services delivered at the primary centers.

  6. The key issues with human resource management in primary healthcare like suitable working conditions, adequate payment, needful resources, and support to carry out the demanding work.

Conclusion:

Integration of mental health services into the primary healthcare system is essential for a plethora of reasons. Still, it comes with a myriad of obstacles that need to be overcome correctly and at the earliest for the successful implementation and running of this program.

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Frequently Asked Questions


1.

What Does Mental Health Care Mean?

Mental health care is an awareness program that includes a training program of two days that enhances basic knowledge and includes awareness lectures about the most common mental health problems.

2.

What Are the Types of Mental Health Care?

Integration of mental health services into the primary healthcare system is essential for a plethora of reasons. There is not any single set of mental health care; instead, there is an array of various types of mental health care that depend on the patient’s mental health background, such as behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, psychoanalysis, and so on.

3.

What Are the Factors That Affect Mental Health?

There are several factors, both internal and external, that affect mental health. They are mentioned below.
- Autonomy.
- Environmental mastery.
- Personal growth.
- Positive relations.
- Purpose of life.
- Self-acceptance.

4.

What Is Considered a Good and a Bad Mental Health?

Good mental health refers to the ability to be able to think, feel as well as react in the manner that one wants to live their life. On the other hand, poor mental health refers to the state in which the patient finds thinking, feeling, and reacting extremely difficult or impossible.

5.

What Is to Be Done to Maintain Mental Health?

 
- Spend quality time with friends.
- Express feelings regularly.
- Reduce the amount of alcohol consumption.
- Avoid the use of illicit drugs.
- Always be active.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Develop new skills.
- Challenge the present capabilities.
- Relax.
- Enjoy hobbies.
- Set realistic goals.
- Take a time-out.
- Get enough amount of sleep.

6.

What Are the Obstacles to Maintaining Mental Health Care?

- Inclusion into primary healthcare services requires investment in the training of professionals and other staff members.
- Primary healthcare workers can show reluctance in dealing with patients affected by mental issues.
- The overburdening of professionals with work may happen as the duties will increase, so more workers need to be included in the team.

7.

What Is Mental Health Awareness?

Mental health awareness can be understood as an ongoing effort in order to reduce the stigma around mental illness because of misconceptions regarding mental health and mental fitness by sharing our personal experiences.

8.

Who Are Prone to Mental Health Issues?

Mental health is important not only for the sanity of an individual but also for their holistic growth, development, and overall health. According to several studies and statistics around the globe, females who are young adults are more prone to developing mental health issues as against any other group.

9.

What Is Mental Hygiene?

Mental hygiene refers to maintaining one’s environment, friends, and family circle positive, in order to avoid the development of any kind of mental illness. Mental health first aid teaches people to recognize common mental illness symptoms, provide initial help, and take that person for additional professional assistance.

10.

What Is the Most Common Mental Health Issue?

Integration of mental health services into the primary healthcare system is essential for many reasons. Still, it comes with a myriad of obstacles that need to be overcome correctly and at the earliest for this program's successful implementation and running. According to several studies and statistics around the globe, depression is one of the most common mental health issues, followed by anxiety.

Last reviewed at:
10 Nov 2022  -  4 min read

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