After doing research on secondary sources via online newspaper articles and magazine columns about mental health, I gained a better understanding of the current issues and positions shown in the media. The overarching problems the mental health issue has was the stigma attached, the lack of awareness and funding to solve and help people experiencing mental health issues. From this, I have delved further into this topic by reading scholarly journals focusing on the research they have undertaken to understand the link between physical health and mental health specifically in Australian university students, and a comparative study of the change in attitude and reduced stigma in nursing students studying in the field of mental health.
The research article “A cross-sectional investigation of depressive, anxiety, and stress symptoms and health-behavior participation in Australian university students” written by Geoff P. Lovell (PhD) from the University of the Sunshine Coast (Queensland), shows a study done on 750 university students through a survey which showed results on the relatively high percentage (39.8%) of students having mild to high mental health issues, mostly being depression, anxiety and stress. There were direct links shown with unhealthy lifestyle habits such as skipping breakfast, and little or no physical sport activities to becoming more vulnerable in mental health. As Geoff P. Lovell (2015) states, “Transitioning to university involves a major life change can have implications for physical and mental health” shows the prevalence of how mental health is not an issue that should be masked as unimportant and invisible when these results show just how it much it easily affects young adults which untreated, could result in more serious issues making it harder to resolve. I agree with the author’s position on this issue as he tries to explain and prevent the arising issue of mental health.
In correlation to this topic, feature article “Lived-experience participation in nurse education: Reducing stigma and enhancing popularity” written for International Journal of Mental Health Nursing shows interesting results about the stigma of mental health within the nursing specialty. It was written by Brenda Happell (Central Queensland University), and she states that “mental health nursing consistently emerges as less popular than other specialties, and both service users and mental health practitioners are affected by negative attitudes. Education is fundamental to attracting students to the field of mental health nursing” (Happell. B, 2014).
The team underwent research into the impact of undergraduate mental health studies on student attitudes to people with mental illness. They compared the changed perspectives results of students who had a traditional mental health course to a course delivered by a person with lived experience of mental illness (Happell. B, 2014). The results showed that students who studied the course delivered by a person who has lived experienced with mental illness showed more changes in their attitude towards people with mental health and the importance of learning how to help treat this issue.
In conclusion, it can be understood through these two texts that the more people speak up about their mental health problems, it allows better learning and understanding of mental health which can aid reducing stigma and early prevention.
Written by Helen Chang
Geoff Lovell. P. 2015, ‘A cross-sectional investigation of depressive, anxiety, and stress symptoms and health-behavior participation in Australian university students’, Nursing and Health Sciences, pp. 134–142
Happell. B. 2014, ‘Lived-experience participation in nurse education: Reducing stigma and enhancing popularity’, International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, pp. 427–434.