Caring presence, a holistic approach to good mental health care
By Dr Precious Chibuike Chukwuere
Eager to make a difference in nursing science through research, and a deep interest in adolescent’s mental health, depression in adolescents, and its psychosocial management, I am embarking on series of research projects on caring presence in the management of adolescent mental health conditions among others, depression in adolescents. I recently completed my PhD in Health Science with Nursing Science under the supervision of Prof LA Sehularo and Prof ME Manyedi. The title of my thesis is “Conceptual framework for psychosocial management of depression in adolescents, North West Province, South Africa”. I develop and validate a conceptual framework for the psychosocial management of depression in adolescents. My study followed a qualitative research approach, utilizing individual interviews and focus group discussion as the instruments of data collection. I interviewed the adolescents and parents and conducted a focus group discussion with the mental health nurses in the various selected study areas. During my PhD study, I realized gaps in caring presence including a dire need for adequate follow-up care for adolescents diagnosed with depression. Adequate mental health care embedded in a caring presence facilitates the patient’s recovery.
My development and validated conceptual framework revealed that for effective psychosocial management of depression in adolescents, the management process should be facilitated by the collaborative efforts of the stakeholders, religious institutions, schools, communities, and peer groups of adolescents. This could be actualized through the effective modification of the immediate environment, mobilizing support systems, facilities, facilitating their resilience, integrating mental health into primary health care, facilitating the therapeutic environment, and continuous monitoring. The developed and validated conceptual further revealed the need for adequate communication, stakeholders’ commitment, adolescent-friendly services, the collaboration of NGOs to ensure adequate psychosocial management of depression in adolescents, and enabling adolescents to develop effective coping skills in the Province. With my good understanding of caring presence and its dire need in the management of mental health conditions among adolescents such as depression in adolescents. I am committed to a caring presence in the management of adolescent mental health conditions such as depression in adolescents which will further facilitate adolescent’s recovery from symptoms and leading a healthier life.