Essay on Nurses Promoting Mental Health

1102 Words Aug 27th, 2011 5 Pages
Promoting Mental Health

Introduction

The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” and that the “enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.” (World Health Organization. 2006) As nurses, health and health promotion are fundamental to the job. Nurses have a responsibility to participate in the advancement of health promotion by teaching acutely ill patients how to manage illness and teaching healthy people how to remain healthy. Nurses must have an evidence-based
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Many of the major health problems today are lifestyle related and many of these ailments can be prevented or minimized by the choice of positive health habits. These lifestyle choices relate to physical activity, nutrition, weight and stress management, smoking cessation and cancer screening, as well as chronic disease management for those living with conditions like arthritis, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Increasingly, a nurse’s role is moving past secondary prevention and towards primary prevention and health promotion. While the importance of prevention of illness cannot be minimized, the initiative to approach wellness holistically is growing. The United States Government is taking steps to help the American public move away from lifestyles solely motivated by health protecting behaviors. Their goal is outlined in the Healthy People 2010 initiative as “developing and implementing policies and preventive interventions that effectively address [individual behaviors and environmental factors to] reduce the burden of illness, enhance quality of life, and increase longevity” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000).

According to Pender, Murdaugh, and Parsons, health protecting behaviors are those behaviors that one engages in to “actively avoid