Mental health, illness, and distress in undergraduate nursing students: A selected review of the literature




Morton, Joanne

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The start of postsecondary education may mark the beginning of a period in which students experience significant changes including those related to developmental tasks, self-identify and the formation of values. Postsecondary education may provide many opportunities for positive growth, however, it also is a time when students are faced with many new challenges, some of which may negatively impact their mental health. Nursing students may have increased risk for mental health issues as they are often required to face challenges not typically found in other programs. Unfortunately, there are postsecondary students who may not have the required coping skills and/or a reliable support system needed to help them navigate the challenges that postsecondary education engenders. Even more disturbing is the fact that many students will go on to develop mental health issues or have an exacerbation of previously identified mental illness for which they will not seek help due to fears of discrimination, stereotyping, and/or reprisal. Although, there has been a number of studies published on student mental health there is little research addressing nursing students and the educators that educate them, particularly in English speaking countries. Given this lack of information, I have conducted a selected literature review on what is currently known about nursing student mental health using nursing and non-nursing sources. These findings are enmeshed with general mental health discussions forming an atypical literature review format. Drawing upon the work of Barker and Buchanan-Barker’s Tidal Model, nursing student mental health is discussed as well as some potential recommendations that may prove helpful in the promotion of nursing student mental health.



undergraduate nursing students, nursing students, undergraduate students, nurse educators, mental health, mental illness, mental distress, The Tidal Model