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Psychiatric disorders affect about 1 in 5 adults in the U.S., which is a total of approximately 18.5% of the adult population or 43.8 million adults who experience mental illnesses in a given year (NAMI, n.d.).  As a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) to be, my plan on becoming a social change agent will be a thorough education to my community and clients in regard to mental health and the stigma around it.  The role of a social change agent is to advocate for the people you work with and also to break the stigma surrounding mental illness.  Being a nurse, we act as advocates for our patients already by providing informed care for their best interest.  An important strategy to implement as a social change agent is to make use of the empirical rational strategy, which takes care of the idea that self-interest is a way that individuals are motivated to act (Delaney, 2011). By educating individuals regarding exact information of the benefits involved with further increasing their overall wellbeing may cause more motivation and desire to create a change in the positive direction for the client’s life (Salam & Alghamdi, 2016). While providing appropriate information to the people, it would be beneficial to incorporate therapeutic communication as well.

             More so, stigmatization is one of the factors that prevent many people to seek help with their mental health (Ponte, 2018). When faced with a stressful life event or emotional challenges, people might carry the hurt or confusion inside. Perhaps avoid facing a potential diagnosis, so the illness only grows worse. There needs to be a change in our social perceptions. Stigma is deeply rooted in societal norms that it can take a long time to eliminate, but we have to keep educating the people when it comes to mental illness. It will eventually get better with time. With advanced education and pervasive experience taking care of patients and families with mental illness, PMHNPs are equipped to maintain community relations by providing ongoing education about mental illness. This helps people understand the facts about mental illness and allow for an open dialogue of personal stories and struggles with mental illness. I do believe that when someone is educated and understands what is going on, they know how to handle people with mental disorders. The social stigma that those living with mental illness experience basically originates from a fundamental lack of understanding of mental disorders as yet another physical illness (Delaney, 2011). 

 Furthermore, hearing others stories with mental illnesses can also be a positive way to enhance change (Bennett, 2015).  I believe that in order to provide understanding as an advocate for mental illness, it involves communicating with various types of individuals in various settings.  I do believe that there should be information available in varying settings in our communities in order to have different people from different background to understand the severity of mental illness if not taken care of.  By providing understanding and information to various individuals in different locations in my community will allow additional understanding to encourage change from the stigma of mental illness. 


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

Delaney, K. R. (2011). Psychiatric mental health nursing: why 2011 brings a pivotal moment. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 1(1).

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). (n.d.).Mental Health by the Numbers. 

Ponte, K. (2018). The Power to Create Change Comes from Within. Retrieved from

Salam, M. & Alghamdi, K. S. (2016). Nurse educators: Introducing a change and evading resistance. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 6(11). 

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