CNA427 Mental Health

CNA427 Mental Health

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CNA427 Mental Health

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CNA427 Mental Health

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Course Code: CNA427
University: University Of Tasmania is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: Australia

Write a Reflections on Mental Health in Adults.

As we age, the efficiency of our body systems slows down. Our mental health too, suffers in a way. However, while the problems of our body systems can be deducted through various tests and technologically advanced processes, the degrading mental health is slow to deduct, and sometimes too late to recover completely. Some of the old age problems, such as dementia, loss of clarity in thinking processes or degrading memory power are only ignored with a notion that they are the signs of advancing years. This is where one might go wrong in identifying the clear distress signals that the people of advanced years (or even in middle age) tend to communicate. Knowledge and proper vigilance by the care givers, can alter this trend, and get them under proper medical supervision. (Stevenson, 2013).
This work is a reflection of my own experience in the field of pathophysiology of mental health in adults and how or where the present day techniques can be applied to enhance my work experience.
Dementia Care Treatments in Adults:
Often than not, adults approach us with various other complaints, such as not getting enough sleep or palpitations due to anxiety and weight issues. While not every case is a sure sign of mental illness, many of these are, sadly, due to deteriorating mental health.
Some of the signs that we look for in patients include:

Sudden disturbance in sleeping pattern
Mood swings
Substance abuse (related to psychological problems)
Changes in normal behaviour

Most of these symptoms are not immediately deducted, although they have started long before a person comes for medical intervention. However, in several cases, even after feeling helpless and anxious, the patients do not approach for medical help due to the stigma attached to mental illness. (Conner, 2010).
In case of dementia, however, the signs are slow and sometimes related to diseases like stroke.
Some of the symptoms include:

Loss of memory (here again, the intensity may differ)
Language and communication
Problem to focus or pay attention
Perception of vision
Judgement and reasoning (Dementia- Signs, symptoms and Diagnosis)

Hence, in cases where they approach the experts for treatment, it is essential to have a one-on- one interview with the patient to review the aspects of their condition. Mental illness cannot be chunked to one particular box, with fixed symptoms. Each and every patient (subject) differs in their predicament, and each has their own complications. It is, therefore the responsibility of the experts, psychologists and other medical health professionals get to the root cause of the problem before dealing with sufficient solution.
Many a times, in our practise, it becomes extremely difficult to get the person to agree to the consultation with an expert, since the term ‘mental illness’ is still a taboo in various communities. The problem becomes further complex, when children (dependents) are smaller, and do not have means to fend for them. According to a study, almost 21-23% of children live with at least one parent who suffers from mental illness in Australia. (Goodyear, 2015). With such parental concerns, and also the stigma, people hesitate to approach, or outright avoid issues concerning their mental health, leading to aggravations, and dire situations, wherein experts need to keep them under observation for a long time.
As an observer in the field of mental health, I have often noted that those patients, who come to us voluntarily, or through the help of family, have a better way of overcoming their problems. It is also often a combined effort of the primary caregiver (mostly a loved one), mental health specialist and health care professionals to bring the patients back to their happy self. (Stevenson, 2013).
The major issue with older adults that one faces is with dementia. Alzemer’s disease, dementia, are problems which are commonly noted in older adults, and require a lot more care, and for a longer time frame. Dementia is a neurodegenerative disease, caused by the death of brain cells (MacGill, 2017). Since dementia can be categorized into many forms, depending upon their severity and causes, the first and foremost one does is to identify the type. Treatment of dementia again is a challenge, since it is not only the patients (usually older adults at the age of 60 and above), but also their loved ones who might have to face the trauma of dealing with the illness.
Reflections on Mental Health in Adults:
Research suggests that mental health is often associated with other diseases in older adults, such as heart conditions, stroke and so on, which curtails them from their favourite activities. This leads to depression, and behavioural changes in them, leading to mental health problems. Every year, more and more people (of age group 55 and above) come with such problems, which makes it difficult for the primary care givers to deal with them at home. Dementia itself claims one tenth of people above the age of 65 years. (McGill, 2017). While drugs like Oestrogen, folate and vitamin B12 are said to be advantageous in decreasing the cell degradation, (and sometimes in reviving the cells), other methods such as efficient care works out to be more efficient. (Australia A)
According to a study of frequency and quality of dementia care in Australian adults, it is seen that only 39% came voluntarily to help, while 26% were treated according to the evidences seen by the professionals. While the other 16% received very less treatment, the rest 19% went undetected. (Harris, 2015). This clearly shows the reluctance in adults to approach health care facilities for treatment or that they simply ignore and (or) unaware of their mental health conditions.
Where do we need to make the change? Do we require a mental illness measurement indicator in hospitals to trap problems at its initial level? The study in the US suggests that the primary care settings can make a significant effort in identifying problems initially and then refer it to the relevant departments for further treatment. (Goodrich et. al, 2014). However, here too, one might encounter resistance in the patients, who might not want to take further help, from a mental health care professional.
Therein lies the problem of social stigma attached to mental illness and dementia. Mental health is such that unless the patient (adult) themselves can come forward to seek help or let their loved ones to interfere on their behalf, (in case of dementia), it is extremely difficult to start treatment. Cooperating with the professionals is one of the primary and significant aspects of mental health care, and without it, the whole endeavour may not be successful.
Increasing cases of mental health are a serious concern. What with today’s stress filled lifestyle and so little time to care for the elders, many of the patients (in their older age) are left to fend for themselves, leading to dementia. Only a combined attempt of the primary care givers, the medical professional who is treating them for other illness and also the family members can make a change in the treatment.
Since mental illness such as dementia and Alzheimer’s is not a sudden occurrence, but something that will develop slowly, an earlier mediation can help the patients recover faster. Adults over the age of 55 especially, and with illness such as heart problems or arthritis and with curtailed movements need to be more carefully watched for symptoms of mental illness.
Although there is no sure way to determine the mental health of a person, and dementia is slow to recognise, a consulting physician or a primary care giver  (who has been seeing a person for a longer time) can identify the symptoms and bring it to the notice of an expert to make a change in their lives.
Stevenson, S. 2013. 10 Symptoms of Mental Illness in the Elderly. Availalble at [Accessed on 21st Aug 2017]
Conner, K. O., Copeland, V. C., Grote, N. K., Koeske, G., Rosen, D., Reynolds, C. F., & Brown, C. 2010. Mental Health Treatment Seeking Among Older Adults with Depression: The Impact of Stigma and Race. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry, vol. 18, no. 6, pp. 531-543.
Parekh, Rana 2015.  Warning Signs of Mental Illness. American Psychiatric Association.  Available at [Accessed on 21st Aug 2017]
Goodrich, D. E., Kilbourne, A. M., Nord, K. M., & Bauer, M. S. 2013. Mental Health Collaborative Care and Its Role in Primary Care Settings. Curr Psychiatry Rep., vol. 15, no. 8, pp. 383
Health Direct 2016.  Nine signs of mental health issues. Available at [Accessed on 21st Aug 2017]
Harris, M. G., Hobbs, M. J., Burgess, P. M., Pirkis, J. E., Diminic, S., Siskind, D. J., … Whiteford, H. A. 2015. Frequency and quality of mental health treatment for affective and anxiety disorders among Australian adults. Med J Aust, vol. 202, no. 4, pp. 185-189.
Goodyear, M., Hill, T.-L., Allchin, B., & McCormick, F. (2015). Standards of practice for the adult mental health workforce: Meeting the needs of families where a parent has a mental illness. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.  Available at [Accessed on 21st Aug 2017]
National Institute of Mental Health 2016.  Older Adults and Mental Health. Available at [Accessed on 21st Aug 2017]
MacGill, M. 2017. Dementia: Symptoms, treatments, and causes. Available at [Accessed on 21st Aug 2017]
Australia, A. 2014. Use of other therapeutic treatments. Available at [Accessed on 21st Aug 2017]
Alzheimer’s Association 2017.  Dementia – Signs, Symptoms & Diagnosis. Available at [Accessed on 21st Aug 2017]

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