How to write a nursing essay on Mental Health Policy

How to write a nursing essay on Mental Health Policy

Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2020

H.R. 1109 (116th): Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2020 is a federal-level bill. The latest action was on September 29, 2020, where the House of Representatives was referred to the senate to be read twice and referred further to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension. This bill aims to improve the Public Health Service Act by revisiting and extending mental health projects for children and increasing access to school-based all-inclusive mental health programs. This shall be achieved with the facilitation of the senate secretary in collaboration with the secretary of education, who shall award grants, contracts, and corporate agreements to eligible entities to avail comprehensive mental health services to school-going children in local communities (Text – H.R.1109 – 116th Congress, 2019-2020). These awards shall be used to facilitate program implementation, enhance mental health awareness, train the appropriate staff, and enhance behavioral interventions. These programs shall address mental health services like handling traumatic experiences, dealing with grief and bereavement, suicide risk assessment and management, and violence (Text – H.R.1109 – 116th Congress, 2019-2020). The bill states that these services shall be “developmentally, linguistically, and culturally appropriate, trauma-informed, and include positive behavioral interventions and supports” (Text – H.R.1109 – 116th Congress, 2019-2020).

Encouragement and opposition of the bill

To begin with, the ethical part of this bill is that it ensures friendly services and supports are provided to individuals in consideration of their culture and language. Studies have shown how culture has an impact on mental illness. Every culture perceives mental health differently on how it can be managed. For many, they take challenges associated with mental health as weakness. Culture can also influence how one will express their symptoms, either physically, emotionally, or both, which will impact understanding characteristics of a given mental ailment and its management (Snodgrass, Lacy, & Upadhyay, 2017). Culture and beliefs affect the community support of individuals suffering from mental health. With the stigma surrounding individuals who have a mental illness, they are sometimes ignored and take care of themselves without any support from the family members or community.

Second, this bill encourages community involvement which is very critical in the management of mental illness. The community provides that sense of belonging, in community members are comfortable with their roles and position. Additionally, there is the support between the community members; they push each other to achieve their goals and objectives and show up if one has a problem. Considering inputs from community members, i.e., the families, health care providers, family-based mental health services, trauma networks, and faith based programs, will have a major impact on the implementation of services and supports for managing mental illness in the community (Text – H.R.1109 – 116th Congress, 2019-2020).

Third, the bill advocates the incorporation of positive behavioral interventions and support. Positive behavioral intervention is a scenario where positive and proactive methods are used in a rental unit to minimize isolation and restraints in managing violence and aggression. The positive behavior is usually identified after interviewing patients and relatives. Seclusion and restraints have been associated with harm and suicides; hence not recommended (Turecki et al.,2019). This move is essential in ensuring welfare and well-being of mental illness patients are in consideration either at home or at the facility receiving treatment.

Fourth, mental health policies and legislation are needed to protect people with mental health conditions since they are part of the vulnerable population in society. They often face stigma, marginalization, and discrimination, further violating their human rights (WHO, 2021). The WHO (2021) states that a pattern of poor health-seeking behavior is noted among these individuals primarily because of their impaired decision-making abilities. As a result, they pose risks not only to themselves but also to those they interact with. For this reason, mental health policy that provides mental health services for students provides a framework that addresses critical issues such as community integration of children with psychiatric conditions, the provision of high quality and easily accessible care, and protection and promotion of their civil rights such as education (WHO, 2021). Through mental health programs that increase awareness, this policy plays a role in mental health promotion and prevention, which generally has better health outcomes for the community.

On the other hand, there is an increasing demand for psychiatric nurses in the country, especially after the pandemic of COVID 19 struck. Notably, this mental health policy does not allocate a segment to consider further mental health research. Factors contributing to this increasing demand include the media normalizing conditions such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, leading to numerous undiagnosed and untreated mental health cases (Pedersen et al., 2019). Also, there is marked inaccessibility of mental health resources, especially to low and middle-income families (Pedersen et al., 2019). These pieces of evidence underscore the need for more research in mental health and the employment of psychiatric nurses in the country. Therefore, this policy should be reviewed to incorporate strategies to educate and employ more psychiatric nurses.

Impact of the bill on the role of PMHNP

Nurses are generally trained and educated to work in multidisciplinary environments. The secret to quality nursing care is utilizing and capitalizing on collaboration with healthcare workers from other disciplines. To a greater extent than other members in health, mental health nurses must efficiently collaborate with other healthcare professionals to deliver quality and satisfactory care to their clients. These professionals include neurologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, educators, social workers, psychologists, and the justice system. This bill will award grants, contracts, and corporate agreements that will facilitate collaboration among different departments, including families, students, the justice system, education, psychiatric and substance use disorder service systems, child welfare systems, trauma networks, and healthcare providers among others (Text – H.R.1109 – 116th Congress, 2019-2020). Collaboration with these departments will improve holistic nursing care and increase mental health awareness, with better mental health outcomes among the patients.

Effective implementation of behavioral interventions in schools and community settings will significantly promote the mental health of young individuals. Studies with similar interventions indicate positive outcomes, especially in emotional and behavioral health. Participants demonstrated improved self-esteem and coping mechanisms after implementing structured behavioral interventions. With such evidence, it’s inarguable that implementing this policy will enhance children’s and adolescents’ mental health. Additionally, the increased accessibility of mental health services to children in all geographical regions will significantly mitigate the increasing demand for psychiatric services all over the country.

Impact of the policy on collaborative care for psychiatric mental healthcare and increased access to care for psychiatric mental health diagnoses

Limited access to mental health services Is a major contributor to disability among low and middle-income families with mental health disorders. This mental health policy integrates various sectors that are interdependent on children and adolescent mental health care. Due to high rates of co-morbidity, and varying clinical manifestations of conditions across all developmental stages, collaborative care offers diverse ways of addressing these problems. Implementation of the policy will expand collaborative care options that will address the underestimated aspects of mental health at a young stage and significantly contribute to better mental health outcomes among the target individuals.

Additionally, implementation of this policy will cut the economic costs of the overall interventions. For example, program interventions meant to address childhood depression cost less than routine care for treatment of depression. Yu, Kolko, and Torres (2017) also establish that Evidence-Based Treatment (EBT) for adolescents diagnosed with substance use disorders costs lower than routine care.

Increased access to mental health care will also allow for time diagnoses and treatment of target individuals. Most people have poor health-seeking behavior due to stigmatization and limited access to mental health care services. Implementing program interventions will not only avail these services to people but also address related co-morbidities and rehabilitation services for quicker recovery and improved health outcomes.


Pedersen, G. A., Smallegange, E., Coetzee, A., Hartog, K., Turner, J., Jordans, M. J., & Brown, F. L. (2019). A systematic review of the evidence for family and parenting interventions in low-and middle-income countries: child and youth mental health outcomes. Journal of Child and Family Studies28(8), 2036-2055.

Snodgrass, J. G., Lacy, M. G., & Upadhyay, C. (2017). Developing culturally sensitive affect scales for global mental health research and practice: emotional balance, not named syndromes, in Indian Adivasi subjective well-being. Social Science & Medicine, 187, 174-183.

Text – H.R.1109 – 116th Congress (2019-2020): Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2020. (2020, September 30).

Turecki, G., Brent, D. A., Gunnell, D., O’Connor, R. C., Oquendo, M. A., Pirkis, J., & Stanley, B. H. (2019). Suicide and suicide risk. Nature reviews Disease primers, 5(1), 1-22.

World Health Organization. (2021). [‎ Improving health systems and services for mental health: mental health policy and service guidance package]‎ (No. WHO/EURO-2021-34580-34580-57140). World Health Organization. Regional Office for Europe.

Yu, H., Kolko, D. J., & Torres, E. (2017). Collaborative mental health care for pediatric behavior disorders in primary care: Does it reduce mental health care costs?. Families, Systems, & Health35(1), 46.

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