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Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2000 Aug;14(4):191-8.

Promoting the mental health of elderly African Americans: a case illustration.

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  • 1College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, USA.


Promoting mental health in an illness-oriented health care delivery system is challenging. Health promotion from a holistic perspective requires that mental health be viewed as important as physical health. The mental health needs of the elderly are numerous and often not addressed during routine visits for primary health care. Research consistently reports that elderly African Americans are not equal participants in the formal health care system. Consequently, promoting mental health in the African American elderly is a challenge made even more complicated because of this group's limited access to and use of mental health care services. Promoting the health of African Americans confronts many traditional values and practices of health care institutions and mental health practice. Therefore, health care providers must be innovative and creative to facilitate mental health promotion in this population of clients. The authors suggest that the Revised Health Promotion Model can serve as a framework for guiding the mental health care of elderly African Americans. Aspects of the model are particularly relevant for this population. The case of an elderly Black woman is presented as an illustration of ways in which the model may be applied with many cultural nuances.

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