Discussion: Influencing Social Change Essay

Discussion: Influencing Social Change Essay

It is undeniable that persons living with psychiatric and mental ailments as well as their family members face challenges in completing social activities while concurrently enduring stereotypes and prejudices from the rest of the society. These challenges cause them to face unfair and unnecessary difficulties in the acquisition and maintenance of basic living wants and needs that include social connections, physical health, medical services, housing, and employment. These challenges are the result of stigma (stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination) whereby they are either subjected to self-stigma or public stigma (Angermeyer, Matschinger & Schomerus, 2013; Dingfelder, 2009). Nurse practitioners can address the concerns brought about by stigma through the use of their trusted position that allows them to mount effective protests. This would be used to reverse the stereotypes towards psychiatric conditions from two perspectives. Firstly, encouraging social agents to scrutinize the media and galvanizing them into offering accurate representation about the condition rather than conjectures and misinformation. Secondly, educating the public (including patients and family members) about the harm caused by prejudices and false assumptions concerning psychiatric conditions. Besides that, nurse personnel are well positioned to present and use empirical evidence to sway public perception with logic instead of using emotions. In fact, nurses can use their trusted role to influence changes in public opinion, especially in the face of stubborn and strong stigmatized perceptions that could hinder recovery efforts and the pursuit of productive and satisfying lives (Wheeler, 2014).Discussion: Influencing Social Change Essay


In addition, nurses challenge the stereotypes that label persons seeking psychiatric care as patients. This occurs through the use of psychiatric techniques and tools (such as therapy and evaluations) to help clients in identifying harmful behaviors and their correlation to trauma, as well as validating feeling concerning traumatic experiences (Bennett, 2015). In essence, active involvement of nurses would cause the persons they come into contact with to rethink their views on mental illness through advocacy and expertly delivering care.


Angermeyer, M. C., Matschinger, H., & Schomerus, G. (2013). Attitudes towards psychiatric treatment and people with mental illness: Changes over two decades. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 203(2), 146–151.

Bennett, T. (2015). Changing the way society understands mental health. Retrieved from http://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/April-2015/Changing-The-Way-Society-Understands-Mental-Health

Dingfelder, S. F. (2009). Stigma: alive and well. American Psychological Association, 40(6), 56.

Wheeler, K. (Ed.). (2014). Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse: A how-to guide for evidence-based practice. New York, NY: Springer. Discussion: Influencing Social Change Essay

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