Problematization of perspectives on health promotion and empowerment in mental health nursing—Within the research network “MeHNuRse” and the Horatio conference, 2012
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Mental illness is increasing worldwide, while society’s response seems to be a trend toward narrower and more specialized mental health care. This development is creating great demands on mental health nurses to include a health promotion perspective in care and support of persons with mental illness. A health promotion perspective emphasizes cooperation and communication with people who suffer from long-term mental illness, focusing on their independence and health. From a health perspective, every human being is an actor in his/her own life, with an inherent ability to make his/her own choices. However, persons who suffer from long-term mental illness are at risk of losing power and control over areas of their lives and their health. Mental health nurses are in a position to support these individuals in promoting health and in maintaining or regaining control over their lives. The emphasis of this paper is to problematize mental health nurses’ responsibility to provide health-promoting nursing care in relation to empowerment by means of emancipation, self-efficacy, and self-management. We argue that mental health nurses can work from a health-promoting perspective by using these concepts and that this challenges some of the traditional ideas of health promotion in mental health nursing. The theoretical background discussions in this paper have their origin in the research network ‘‘Mental Health Nursing Research in Scandinavia’’ (MeHNuRse) and from the professional discussions developed during a 2012 workshop that included mental health nurses and researchers at the European Horatio Festival in Stockholm.