• Internal Code :
  • Subject Code : NSG3RDP
  • University : La Trobe University
  • Subject Name : Nursing


As per Lake and Turner (2017), around one-third of the world population is suffering from some form of mental illness. Some of the common severe mental illness disorders are depression, anxiety; the substance used disorders and schizophrenia. Severe mental illness or SMI can be observed in both developed and developing countries of the World. Some of the countries that have a high prevalence of SMI includes Australia, US and Canada. According to Richtie and Roser (2018), in the year 2017, around 792 million people had a mental illness. Mental health is strongly correlated with physical health. The mental illness affects the physical health of the person, and similarly, the physical injuries affect the mental well-being (Ohrnberger, Fichera & Sutton, 2017).

The mental illness affects the decision-making ability of a person due to which the person is unable to take the right decisions regarding their physical health. This impairs their judgment and increases the chances of physical illness. The person with mental disorders are not able to access information on their health; they are unable to evaluate the quality of care provided to them, and all these factors impact their physical well-being. Thus, there is a need for effective nursing care and management. The nurses perform a significant function in improving the physical health conditions of the patients suffering from any kind of mental disorder (Bressington et al. 2018). The aim of this paper is to provide a detailed reflection of the article written by Happel et al. (2017). This paper discusses the understanding and learning outcomes of the given article.

Summary of The Chosen Article

As per Happel et al. (2011), people with severe mental illness have poor health; high chances of morbidity and early death. One of the primary reasons behind this is the poor quality of care provided to the patients of mental illness. It has been observed that patients of mental diseases are given the poor quality of care due to which they have higher chances of physical injuries. This leads to a higher mortality rate of patients suffering from mental disorders. The physical requirements of these patients are not fulfilled adequately due to which they face severe physical challenges. As per this article, the nurses play a crucial role in upgrading the physical health of such patients.

People with mental illness are generally addicted to substance abuse, cigarette smoking, and drugs. They have a high prevalence of drinking alcohol, and due to all these factors; their nutrition intake is affected severally. This leads to physical disorders such as malnutrition and others. Moreover, the patients of mental disorders take psychotropic medication that causes obesity and increased BMI. This is because these drugs reduce the consumer's metabolic rate (Abuse, Schmitz,& Fiedorowicz, 2018). Several cultural and social issues affect the care provided to patients of mental disorders. For example, there is a social stigma associated with such patients; they face different discriminations such as employment and housing. The people suffering from SMI require more personal care than patients suffering from physical issues. The nurses reflect the largest profession that is related to patient care. The given article discusses the important roles plays by registered nurses in providing care to the patients of mental diseases.

Reflection of the Article

I have learnt the importance of personal care for patients of mental diseases. Through the article Happe et. (2011), I understood the ways in which physical health gets affected by the mental disease. For example, obesity, fall-related injuries and malnutrition are some of the common diseases that have a high prevalence in the patients suffering from mental disorders or SMI. I feel bad for such people as they are not provided with proper care. According to Lake and Turner (2017), around 83 percent of the total World's population belongs to low and middle socio-economic countries. These populations have less amount of money due to which they are unable to treat mental diseases. Moreover, treating mental disease is not possible as these populations have poor financial conditions and their countries do not have adequate professional staff who can treat mental disorders. I developed a feeling of sorrow and helplessness while reading this article as I analyzed the challenges faced by patients of mental sickness. As per the American Physiological Association (2019), family support is highly significant in improving the mental well being of a person. This is because the family provide adequate and effective care to the patients. However, there are several families that do not take appropriate measures for providing care to the patients. This makes me feel bad for such patients; I understood the value of care while treating such conditions.

Through this article, I leant that nurses are very important for providing care to both the patients who are suffering from mental illness and the ones who have physical injuries. As per Happe et al. (2011), the interventions taken by nurses are highly effective in preventing physical injuries that are caused due to mental illness. The nurses support the patients of mental diseases to quit smoking; they motivate such patients to follow a healthy lifestyle; help them in tackling obesity and also provide them support in reducing substance use (Public Health England, 2016). According to Zimmerman, Morgan and Stanton (2018), the patients of mental diseases are provided with psychiatric drugs due to which patients become unconscious and are more prone to fall injuries such as head injuries and broken bones. The interventions adopted by nurses also reduced the prevalence of fall-related disorders in such patients. Thus, I developed all these fallings while reading this article.

Analysis of New Issues

I had a deep understanding of mental disorders and their impacts on a person's life through my past learning. I was aware of the discriminations and challenges that are faced by patients of mental illness. However, I was unaware of the ways in which mental illness affects the physical health of a person. I was able to understand the impact of mental illness on the physical health conditions through the article written by Happel et al. (2011). According to MQ Mental Health (2016), the patients of mental disorders such as bipolar disorder and depression have 53 percent chances of having cardiovascular disease than the people who do not have mental diseases. 85 percent people having mental diseases have the chances of having heart attacks which is comparatively higher than the people who do not have such diseases.

In this article, I learnt about the role of nurses in improving the health conditions of the patients having from mental disorders. The nurse-care services that are given to the patients of mental disorders include monitoring of medication, regular check-up, support and care. The nurses use their recovery-based approach to treat the patients. The nurses use physical care skills to protect patients from developing physical injuries. In this article, I learnt about some of the policies and programs that are used by nurses while treating the patients of mental illness. For example, the National Health Services Policy or NHS implemented by the Department of Health is one of such programs. The Well-Being Support Program is also used by nurses to improve to provide better physical care to SMI patients. However, these programs and policies are not highly effective, as the results obtained by them are minimal. I learnt in this article that the Australian Government had taken several initiatives to prevent physical injuries that are faced by the people having mental diseases. I also analyzed that these initiatives are not highly effective as the prevalence of physical unwell being is still high in patients.

According to Arkansas State University (2017), the nurses have a crucial role in addressing the mental and physical health conditions of a patient. They have the responsibility of providing holistic care to the patient's who have mental disorders. However, in the given article, I analyzed that the nurses are not able to provide adequate care to the patients of mental disorders due to immense work pressure, personal beliefs, and their healthcare performance. As a result of all these factors, the patients have mental illness become prone to physical illness such as malnutrition, fall and other physical injuries. Thus, it is essential that all the nurses should have a clear understanding of their role in improving the physical health conditions of the patients suffering from any kind of mental disease. The nurses should be provided with adequate training sessions in which they should be taught about their role in improving the physical health of such patients. In this article, I learnt about Health Improvement Profile or HIP; an initiative which was taken by the Australian Government to provide and improve the physical care that is given to the mentally ill patients. As per Bressington et al. (2018), the Health Improvement Profiles have the tendency to improve the health conditions of the patients having SMI. The nurses should get training on the ways in which they can use Health Improvement Profiles for preventing the prevalence of physical health in SMI patients.

Changes in Understanding Due to The Article

This article has changed my understanding of mental health and its effects on an individual. Earlier, I had the belief that mental health has no relationship with physical health. I was aware that physical impairment affects the mental well-being of a person, but my understanding of the ways in which mental illness affects physical health was unclear. However, this article has changed my understanding as I learnt in this article that people with mental ailments are at higher risks of suffering from physical abnormalities. This article also changed my understanding of the nurse's role in treating mentally ill patients. Earlier, I had the understanding that nurses have the role of improving the mental health conditions of the patients suffering from mental sickness.

However, in this article, I understood that nurses also have a crucial role in improving the physical health conditions of such patients. They have the duty of reducing the prevalence of physical injuries in such patients. I also understood that HIP is only used for replacing the systematic problems faced by mentally ill patients, but is also important in promoting consumer centeredness. I had the belief that Government policies and programs are effective in reducing morbidities and mortalities caused due to mental disorders. However, through this article, there is a change in my understanding as I have analyzed that these policies and programs only aim at improving the mental conditions of the patients. These are not reducing the physical issues faced by mentally ill patients.

Learning Outcomes of The Article that Can Improve Professional Nursing Practices

As per Nursing Times (2017), the nursing staff and other health professionals face difficulties in providing adequate physical care to the patients of SMI. However, this article improves the nurse's understandings and skills for providing physical care to such patients. In this article, I have learnt about various methods that I can use in my nursing career to provide physical care to patients of mental disorders. I have learnt about HIP techniques, nursing policies and programs that can help me in improving my professional nursing techniques. These learning outcomes will be highly useful for me as they will enhance my nursing skills for improving the physical fitness of SMI patients. I have learnt about the different physical attributes that I can check through the HIP interviews. I have understood the different provisions that I can use for improving the health conditions of the patients having mental ailments. I also learnt the importance of working with a physiatrist and other mental health team members as they can guide a nurse in bettering the nursing skills that are required for providing adequate care to SMI patients. All these learning outcomes will help me in enhancing my professional nursing practices in the future.


Thus, this article has helped in improving my knowledge related to treating patients who suffer from mental disorders. I have understood the importance of physical care for such patients. This article has helped in learning the ways in which nurses can improve the physical health of the patients having SMI. The reflection of this article is helpful for me in improving my nursing skills and professional nursing practices. This article has provided me with information on different physical health issues that are faced by mentally ill patients who do not adequately care and support. In this paper, I learnt about some of the common nursing interventions that can help the nurses in improving the physical health conditions of mentally ill patients. I also learnt about some of the standard programs and policies that the Government has adopted to improve the care provided to such patients. All these understandings learning outcomes can help me in improving my future nursing practices and nursing skills. 


Lake, J. & Turner, S. M. (2017). Urgent need for improved mental health care and a more collaborative model of care. The Permanent Journal, 21(n.d.), 17-24. doi: 10.7812/TPP/17-024

Ritchie, H. & Roxer, M. (2018). Our World in Data. Mental Health. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/mental-health

Bressington, D., Badnapurkar, A., Inoue, S., Ma, Y. H., Chien, T. W., Nelson, D. & Gray, R. (2018). Physical health care for people with severe mental illness: the attitudes, practices, and training needs of nurses in three Asian countries. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(2), 343. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15020343

Ohrnbergera, J., Ficherab, E. & Suttona, M. (2017). The relationship between physical and mental health: A mediation analysis. Social Science & Medicine, 195(n.d.), 42-49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.11.008

Abosi, O., Lopes, S., Schmitz, S. & Fiedorowicz, G. J. (2018). Cardiometabolic effects of psychotropic medications. Hormone Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation, 36(1), n.d. doi: 10.1515/hmbci-2017-0065

American Psychological Association. (2019). Supporting a family member with serious mental illness. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/topics/support-serious-mental-illness

Public Health, England. (2017). Improving the physical health of people with mental health problems: Actions for mental health nurses. 

Zimmerman, M., Morgan, A. T. & Stanton, K. (2018). The severity of psychiatric disorders. World Psychiatry, 17(3), 258-275. doi: 10.1002/wps.20569

Arkansas State University. (2017). How to care for patients with mental health problems. 

Bressington, D., Chien, W. T., Mui, J., Lam, C. K. K., Mahfoud, Z., White, J. & Gray, R. (2018). Chinese health improvement profile for people with severe mental illness: A cluster-randomized, controlled trial. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 27(2), 841-855. doi: 10.1111/inm.12373

MQ Mental Health. (2017). 4 ways our physical health could be impacted by our mental health. Retrieved from https://www.mqmentalhealth.org/posts/4-ways-our-physical-health-could-be-impacted-by-our-mental-health

Nursing Times. (2017). Improving the physical health of people with severe mental illness.

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