Main Menu

My Account
Online Free Samples
   Free sample   Mental health nursing assignment

Mental Health Nursing Assignment: Research on Patients Addicted to Drugs/Alcohol


Task: Choose the area of nursing with mental health service and develop a mental health nursing assignment discussing the past, present and future for your chosen topic.

Part One – ‘Past’
It is suggested that historical beliefs and attitudes towards mentally unwell people have influenced contemporary nursing practice and current service delivery.

  • Describe these historical beliefs and attitudes and demonstrate your understanding of how they have influenced current nursing care and mental health service delivery in New Zealand.

Part Two – ‘Present’
Mental health service users face many challenges and difficulties in their daily lives.

  • Consider your chosen topic and discuss some of the difficulties and challenges that mental health service users face and further describe how these may impact upon the individual, family and other relationships.

Part Three – ‘Future’
Currently, mental health service delivery is in the process of significant change in respect of accessibility, appropriateness and effectiveness of services.

  • Consider your chosen topic and describe with examples how provision of mental health services might be improved in the future with regards to the care for people experiencing mental health issues.
  • Illustrate your vision of mental health nursing care, with examples of how excellence can be achieved in respect of culturally safe care and health promotion.
  • Describe how the role of the mental health nurse might need to develop to meet these changes.


Also referred to as Psychiatric nursing, Mental health nursing examined in this report on mental health nursing assignment is a practice that involves the provision of care to patients suffering from a mental disorder with the aim of helping them improve as well as restore their quality of life. All the Nurses involved in the practice possess advanced knowledge of all the treatment, diagnosis, and assessment related to the psychiatric disorders that will help in providing specialized care to their patients. The practice of mental health nursing is responsible for assessing and evaluating the mental health of patients, development of treatment care plans, provision of psychotherapy treatments and care, etc. (Smith, 2016).

However, this wasn't always the case, and this has been possible after a series of evolution throughout the last two decades of tremendous growth and change in the practice. The topic chosen for the essay is "Addiction- Drugs/ Alcohol." Therefore, the assignment will discuss how mental health nursing was in the past and the historical beliefs and attitudes towards the mentally unwell people have been successful in influencing the contemporary nursing practice that has laid the foundation for the current practices. Since people perceive patients with mental disorders in a different light, they have to face various challenges and difficulties in their day-to-day life, which will also be discussed within the assignment. Lastly, the current subtle but significant changes that are taking in the field of mental nursing in respect of its availability to the patients, the development of appropriate specialized care, and effectiveness of the services provided by mental health nursing will also be highlighted within the assignment.

Part One
It wasn't very long that addictions were considered as a moral affliction. People addicted to drugs were perceived as bad people, willfully selfish as well as hedonistic instead of thinking of them as people who were suffering a physical as well as mental affliction. Through years of research and studies has helped in changing the perspective of addicts into individuals suffering from rather chronic as well as progressive diseases of the brain like any other patients; there's still a lot of progress that needs to be made. Recent studies have shown that individuals addicted due to substance abuse all had co-occurring mental illness as well. Addiction alone could be considered a mental disorder; the only thing preventing so is because of its concurrent physical nature and the exhibition of psychological symptoms in addition to the chemical and physical dependence. Though addiction and mental disorders were not treated as one in the past, now it cannot be ignored that alcohol and drug addiction triggers mental disorders (Dual Diagnosis, 2018).

This evolution of mental illness has been more cynical rather than progressive and in the past. There is evidence from the past where uncommon behavior that could have been due to mental disorder is used as a way of controlling or silencing individuals and even groups. Mental illness in the past was viewed as possessed by evil, and the behavior of the patients was viewed as a result of the possession. Witch-hunt, exorcism as well as physical treatments in the form of blistering, bleeding, and surgically cutting of the skull with the motive of releasing the spirit were practiced. As time progressed and mental illness started to be acknowledged a bit, society also started recognizing the need for treatment which laid down the foundation for the development of mental nursing. However, this wasn't successful instantly and had to be established slowly and Individuals suffering from mental illness started to be held in prisons away from the people as there was no one to care for them, no place to keep as well as no medical help (Farreras, 2020). Due to these reasons, asylums were built around the country where the main treatment for the patients included exercise or physical work.

However, It was only during the 1900s that mental illness began to be acknowledged by all, and asylums built around the country started to be acknowledged as a mental hospital. Since there had been so many ill-treatments of the people suffering from mental disorders of all kinds, researchers and institutions wanted to change this belief and started manufacturing drugs and treatments. Mental hospitals also started to change into psychiatric hospitals, which gave rise to occupational therapists and social workers who can be seen today in many parts of New Zealand. Since this change came during the late 1930s, it still had numerous setbacks. Like long-term patients within the hospitals who weren't expected to recover anytime and had lost their touch with life were neglected and did not receive enough support even inside the hospital. This problem started to be noticed during the 1970s, which lead to the closure of almost all the psychiatric hospitals by the 1990s as community care was established for the mentally ill. As every psychiatric hospital has been closed, major mental health services from the 21st century are all government organizations. The transition from institutional to community care was carried out due to how mental disorders were perceived in the past and the lack of support towards the patients due to the historical events. Though the transition was for a good cause, it has still come across many challenges, which gave rise to the need for forming a Mental Health Commission in New Zealand which would focus on a mental disorder of all kinds and even addiction (Brunton, 2018).

Part Two
According to World Health Organisation, people dying from addiction to drugs and alcohol are around 3.3 million every year. It also says that there are about 31 million around the world suffering from some form of addiction to drugs and alcohol, leading to mental illness. These signs of abuse are not apparent in the initial uses; however, without any notice, addiction may start to develop to drugs and alcohol, and everything starts to fall apart. Addiction to drugs and alcohol can be associated today with different factors despite what has been the cause behind the phenomenon. It is considered a public health problem and has garnered attention due to the social, family, legal, physical as well as violence risks that it represents. However, above all, it is the most painful for the addicted, their friends and family, and every other relationship they share as they feel completely helpless in front of this mental disease. The detrimental disease affects the abuser's body, feelings, mind, and even actions which leads to numerous problems in their daily life, and this mostly happens because of how their priority and desire changes. Most of the time, it is seen that people become addicted to alcohol and drugs because of their inability to cope with problems in life. When such individuals become, mental health users dealing with emotions and staying in a carefree state is one of the biggest daily challenges that they face. Stress, sadness, grief, anxiety, and shame are some of the major emotional challenges that addicted users of mental services face in their daily life.

Craving is another major challenge faced by patients suffering from addiction and now using mental health services. As a user of mental health services, addicted patients have to cope with cravings which is a next-level challenge as craving at this stage is experienced as a sort of command that becomes tough to refuse. Another challenge faced by the patient is problems related to finances. Abusing drugs and alcohol costs a lot of money which has a huge impact on finance; therefore, as a user of mental health services dealing with debts, medical costs, and lost income can prove to be challenging.

Though addiction has a tremendous effect on each and every aspect of a patient's life, the most affected are the loved ones including, family, friends, and other relationships. When the patient gets swept abusing alcohol and drugs, they start ignoring family obligations, change their social groups and even cut off entirely from all of the loved ones in order to arrange their next fix. This leads to the burning of all the bridges with the family and the patient's social groups and relationship. Therefore, while being a user of the mental health services, the patient now has to face the challenges of building all these relationships that he has burnt down. Friends and family are affected by all the challenges faced by the patient as they can also see the amount of suffering that the patient has to go through in order to be sober. Seeing the challenges, the families may try to acknowledge their part and accept their role that leads to the addiction, which can be extremely painful. If the patient ever conveys what lead them to addiction, their friends and family may be astounded with how they weren't there for the patient.

Part Three
The mental health and addiction services of New Zealand have become extremely messy as the disorderly mix of NGOs, DHBs, and all the primary care providers are all trying hard to be a part of the coordinated response (Counties Manukau Mental Health, 2012).

The current setting on mental health and addiction services is outdated and a cluster of general confusion. Therefore, therapies based on technologies that have become prominent today can be taken for improving the practice. The biggest problems that need to be addressed are the inequity of access, and less choice of service provider, lower access to the addiction services for the Asian population of New Zealand, and primary health care who may not be equipped with the necessities to deal with addiction and other mental health services are provided with too much burden. The government has provided funding, but it hasn't be used therefore relegating the authority to the mental health and wellbeing commission for tackling the fundamental problems related to the accessibility to effective and appropriate services. IT is also recommended that the specialist addiction services work closely within the spectrum of justice. Also, transferring the power to meet these needs to the commission in order to transform the addiction and mental health services can prove to be beneficial (Ministry Of Health, 2012).

The commission also needs to empower the people and provide autonomy to provide the best services. Lastly, addiction-related programs for the Asian population not only raise awareness but also provide services to the Asian communities will the patients at the heart of the addiction and mental care, which can help in achieving a culturally healthy and safe care promotion (TePou, 2015).

Even if the commission does take necessary steps of making mental health services more accessible and effective, the mental health nurses who are the ones attending the most to the patients also need to take various steps in order to create a culturally safe and health care promotion. Therefore, Mental health care nurses also need to follow their duty in order to administer holistic care that includes the address of the patient's health and their addiction problems. As mentioned above, nurses work directly with the patients, which makes them the most effective source of information that can be used for implementing a better mental health system. They can influence and advocate the new policies and their development so that more patients can have access to the services. The nurses also need to be aware of autonomy as the first principle accurately assesses each parameter. Moral reasoning as well as making extremely informed judgments on the patients should also be undertaken by the nurses(O’Hagan, 2001).

Mental disorders have existed for a very long time, and though the various measures has been taken to improve the practice of providing services to such patients, there still exists a number of aspects that needs to be addressed. Though addiction wasn't recognized as a mental disorder in the past, it is clear now that it is also a disease, and society has started to change its perspective towards the problem. Even though there are treatments for patients suffering from addiction to drugs and alcohol, it is actually very challenging to recover successfully and has to go through various challenges in their daily life, which mostly goes unnoticed. Therefore, mental health services need to be more effective and accessible for such patients to help them pull through their recovery phase. This can be carried out through various changes in the administration policies and practices as well as through some extra effort by the mental health practicing nurses.

Brunton, W. (2018).Mental health services.

Counties Manukau Mental Health.(2012). Better Mental Wellbeing for All.Countiesmanukau. Dual Diagnosis. (2018). Addiction & Mental Illness: Does One Cause the Other?Dual Diagnosis. Farreras, I. G. (2020).History of Mental Illness.Noba.

Ministry Of Health. (2012). Rising to the Challenge: The Mental Health and Addiction Service Development Plan 2012–2017. Ministry of Health NZ.

O’Hagan, M. (2001).Recovery Competencies for New Zealand Mental Health Workers.In ERIC. New Zealand Mental Health Commission,.

Smith, Y. (2016, August 3). Mental Health Nursing. TePou.(2015). Asian language resources | Addiction Services.TePou.


Related Samples

Question Bank

Looking for Your Assignment?

Search Assignment
Plagiarism free Assignment









9/1 Pacific Highway, North Sydney, NSW, 2060
1 Vista Montana, San Jose, CA, 95134