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How a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Can Aid Mental Health Progress

As adolescents mature and transition into adulthood, struggling with their mental health can create a challenging barrier. Getting treatment for young adults is important in helping them to progress and develop into functional and independent adults. Many practitioners can help your student get a handle on their mental health. One example is a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Mental health treatment will look different for each adolescent. However, improving mental health is important for young adults. This is particularly true for adolescents who struggle with disorders like autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, or anxiety. A psychiatric nurse practitioner is often one part of a team that can help teens find peace and smoothly transition into adulthood.

What Is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

Psychiatric nurse practitioners are nurse practitioners (NPs) that specialize in working with mental health. NPs have undergone about six to eight years of schooling to provide medically-sound care for patients. Additionally, a psychiatric nurse practitioner has also undergone education to specialize in mental health.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners assess patients, study their medical history, and examine them. Then, they can diagnose and create a treatment plan for their patients. Due to their expertise in mental health, they can help adolescents to manage mental health conditions by utilizing medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and more.

Additionally, psychiatric nurse practitioners help to educate families and communities. For adolescents struggling with mental health, this is ideal. While young adults are generally transitioning into independent living, family and friends are often helpful. By improving the family's understanding of their needs, they can support teens effectively.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners differ from other parts of a mental health care team like a psychiatrist or psychologist. A psychologist's role is to diagnose, treat, and counsel patients experiencing issues with mental health. They will provide different types of therapy that address psychological distress. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that treats mental health conditions with therapy, medication, or psychoanalysis.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners differ from both of these by providing more holistic care. They can diagnose and treat mental health conditions, prescribe medication, and create an educational plan to help both adolescents and their families. Therefore, while they are specialized in mental health, their role is supportive of not only the patient but their community as well.

How a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Can Help Adolescent Mental Health

Working with a psychiatric nurse practitioner is extremely helpful for adolescents, particularly those who are struggling with their mental health. Psychiatric nurse practitioners play a vital role in care by being the center of a teen's care team and providing community-based care that can be adjusted to fit the needs of each individual.


The National Library of Medicine explains that NPs are educated in many different disciplines of medicine. A key aspect of the role of an NP is to be able to collaborate with other disciplines both in and out of the medical field. Therefore, NPs are more able to work with others in the field of mental health. While collaboration is not always the answer, working with an NP allows for that option when it is needed.

Due to NP's collaborative abilities, they also are likely to be able to help patients by gathering the necessary information and creating a care plan that includes multiple pieces. This means that adolescents and their loved ones can have one person who knows the extent of the care, which makes keeping track of the next steps, medications, and the entire care plan much easier.

Community-Based Care

Many medical professionals work out of one office or care center. However, nurses, including psychiatric nurse practitioners, are more likely to provide community-based care. Therefore, working with an NP is a good fit for adolescents who need care while at college or as part of a distance support program.

As a result of NPs providing community-based care, they are more likely to be able to help adolescents create change. For many teens and adults, going to see a doctor can be stressful. However, seeing an NP at school or closer to home is often less distressing. Adolescents struggling with mental health especially benefit from this type of care.

Another helpful piece of community-based care is the inclusion of education for both adolescents and their loved ones. Improving mental health takes multiple pieces. This often includes medication, therapy, educational coaching, and more. Psychiatric nurse practitioners not only help adolescents to heal, but they also help to create a plan that will help adolescents make sustainable changes.

Improving mental health is not as easy as just taking a pill. It requires learning real-life skills that impact mental health. A psychiatric nurse practitioner will help adolescents to build these skills through education and therapy. Therefore, they are supporting every piece of mental health for holistic change.

Transitioning into adulthood is a challenging part of life. It can be particularly difficult for adolescents who struggle with mental health. While there are many different treatment options, working with a psychiatric nurse practitioner can help. At Northwest College Support, we understand the value of learning skills to manage mental health. Our programs help adolescents learn life skills and ways to manage mental health in adulthood. As part of our programs, students can work with a psychiatric nurse practitioner to manage their mental health. To learn more about our programs and how we can help your student smoothly transition into adulthood, call Northwest College Support today at (877) 485-2776 to speak with a staff member.

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