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Exploring Virtual Platforms in Mental Health


In the modern nursing field, virtual communication and the online confidential forum are fundamental in terms of fastening the entire process of treatment and care delivery thereby improving the care experience of people (Almathami et al. 2020). In the case of men belonging to the age group 18-30 years who suffer from mental illness, the use of the online confidential forum and virtual communication is essential in enabling nurses to improve the standard of the mental health assessment and effective planning of the care delivery that will not only assist patients to improve the mental and psychological wellbeing but also assist them to live a healthy life. This study will review different relevant literature in terms of discussing the importance of the online confidential forum and the virtual process in terms of improving the communication between the nursing professionals and the mentally ill men belonging to the age group 18-30 years. Here the study will critically discuss different theories and models in terms of discussing the selected topic by using different selected relevant literature. Finally, that study will discuss the gap of the literature in which it will discuss the drawback of the selected literature in terms of discussing some factors or aspects of the research topic.

Concept of virtual communication in mental health nursing:

As mentioned by Antonacci et al. (2017), virtual communication is fundamental in the modern nursing field to maintain effective as well as fast interception between nursing professionals and mentally ill patients. Virtual communication includes email, online message delivery, video conferencing, online chat with patients, online meeting, electronic health record formation and smart health services. Through using different online application program nursing professionals are able to maintain effective communication with mentally ill men who are under the age group 18-30 years. As argued by Chau et al. (2019), in the case of mentally ill men belonging to the 18-30 years age group, online communication can be challenging for nursing professionals to determine the different types of mental and physical health needs of patients. Evidence suggests that, in the case of mentally ill men of different age group, nurses face difficulties in detecting the ranges of health needs of the patients by only using virtual communication, this is because in case of virtual communication although nursing professionals can interact with the patients by conducting video conferencing or sending the e-mail, these are not effective in understanding the facial expression and psychological of patients as in the face-to-face communication (Eker, 2020). On the contrary in modern mental health nursing, online communication is highly useful in saving the times and effort of both the nursing and health professionals and patients. Through using online communication nursing professional is able to interact with men suffering from the mental illness at any times when needed (Cipolletta and Mocellin, 2018). By using video conferencing there are no times and location barriers for the nursing professionals, therefore they can easily contact the patients and patient’s family members at any times when needed to provide the required health care information and advice. Virtual communication enables nurses to make a conference call with doctors, physiotherapist, nutritionists, pharmacist and occupational therapists thereby making effective discussion on the patient’s health-related issue and possible care plan for the patient. On the contrary, Chen et al. (2019) argued that virtual communication is highly effective in modern mental health nursing which enables the nursing professionals to fasten the detection of the mental health issues of patients thereby providing high-quality care for each mentally ill patient. Evidence suggests that through virtual communication nursing professionals can identify the mental health issues, current physical health condition, mental health needs and psychology of patients (Eker, 2020). Nurses are able to maintain empathetic communication through using the online process, such as video conferencing and web chat in which mental with mental illness care be treated with proper dignity and respect [NMC, 2018]. Through providing effective care and treatment nursing professionals and meet the health care needs of mentally ill patients (Hall et al. 2017). Online communication assists the nursing and healthcare professions to use the different online platform to communicate with different health care professionals, which enables them to gather good knowledge and advice on how to improves care experiences of mentally ill patients and what treatment can be applied in their treatment (Hazzam and Lahrech, 2018). Moreover, virtual communication assists nursing professionals to interact with national and international statutory and voluntary health and social care organizations in terms of seeking proper advice and resources from them to improve the overall care experiences of mentally ill men.

Concept of the online confidential forum in nursing:

The online confidential forum enables modern nursing professionals to develop their professional knowledge and nursing skill that assist them to deal with the different mental health needs of mentally ill patients (James et al. 2017). The online confidential forum assists nursing professionals to gather knowledge on the modern technologies that can be used in treating mentally ill people. The online forum also enables nurses to gathers strong knowledge on using an innovative person-centred approach to determine and meet the holistic needs of mentally ill patients (Kaal et al. 2018). In the case of mentally ill men within the age group 18-30, nurses can use their new nursing skill and professional expertise that they gather from the online confidential forum. This online confidential forum is not only associated with developing the professional development of mental health nurses but also is associated with developing personal and moral values inside nurses such as nursing ethics and professional integrity (Martínez-Caro et al. 2018). Online confidential forum is highly useful in mental health nursing which enables mental health nurses to respects patient’ autonomy throughcare delivery, adhere to all the mental health legislation during the practices and maintain the high standard of care that will meet all the mental health needs of mentally ill men (Malhotra et al. 2019). In the case of men with mental illness belonging to age group 18-30, nursing professional can use the knowledge and expertise that they gather from the online confidential forums that will assist them to not only detect the health needs of men by using effective online communication buts also maintain the confidentiality of the personal and professional details patients (Ghasemaghaei et al. 2019). In the case of treating mentally ill men, the online confidential, form assist nursing professionals to treat each man as an individual and respects his or her decision, preferences and choices for treatment.

Theories on the effectiveness of online communication in mental health nursing:

There are different types of theories about healthcare communication such s:

Bull’s eye theory:

This theory is associated with developing one-way communication within healthcare in which nurses can provide instructions and advice to mentally ill men (Negash et al. 2018). In the modern era, the online model of communication uses both one way and two-way communication. While treating men with mental illness, nurses can use this theory to maintain effective and well-structured communication with patients in which they can provide instruction and advice to patients regarding developing healthy habits in patients, improving living standard, bringing about effective changes in their lifestyle behaviour. As argued by Øyen et al. (2018), while using online communication and virtual confidential forum to maintain trustworthy and healthy communication with mentally ill men, nurses must use two ways of communication rather than using one-way communication. The author also argued that in one-way communication, nurses would only respect the viewpoint or advice onto patients rather than providing patients with the opportunity to discuss their issues and preferences (Pal et al. 2018.). In maintaining online communication effectively, nurses must ensure that the communication that they conduct through the online platform must be close loop communication in which their nurses will also listen to the health needs and mental health illness of the mentally ill men. On the contrary, critics mentioned that the Bull’s eye theory is useful to maintain disciplined a well-structured communication in which nurses can provide strict advice to mentally ill men regarding what the patient needs to follow and what he or she should avoid (Peate et al. 2017). Evidence suggests that effective online communication must use the Bull’s eye theory, through which nurses can get valuable instruction from the different senior healthcare professionals regarding improving the care experiences of mentally ill men. On the other hand, nurses can also provide instruction and advice to family members and guardians of mentally ill men regarding what changes need to be done in the lifestyles behaviour and feeding habits of patients and what actions are required to improve the cognitive ability of the patients.

Closed-loop communication Model:

The closed Loop Communication (CLC) model is a highly effective and widely used online communication model that enables today’s nursing professionals to maintain transparent communication with mentally ill patients (Sims, 2018). In case of dealing with the mental health need of mentally ill men of 18-30 years, nursing professionals can use CLC to maintain a transparent information delivery system in healthcare, in which nursing professional can involve that patients, doctors, pharmacist, psychotherapist and the occupational therapist to make an effective discussion regarding the current update of patient’s mental health (Shim and Jo, 2020). Through maintaining effective CLC, nursing professional can not only provide advice and instruction to the patients and their family members through using the online model of communication but also nursing professional can also allow the patients to share the feelings, psychology and health need throughout the communication process (Spieler et al. 2021). By using video conferencing, voice message and web chat, nursing professionals can involve the members of the multidisciplinary team in the communication process with patients and make an effective platform on transparent information delivery in which each professional can provide advice to the mentally il patients and also the mentally ill patients can ask all the question to the nurse and other members of the team (Vreugdenhil et al. 2019.). In addition to this, during the care delivery to mentally ill men of 18-30 years, nursing professionals must have the effective communication skill that will enable them to close loop all the interaction with patients and doctors thereby maintaining the transparency of the communication. As argued by Turner et al. (2019), many times, mental health nurses are unable to maintain close loop communication while using the online platform and online confidential forum, which rase the chances of different errors such as medication errors and instruction errors that can mislead a mentally ill patient. In the case of mentally ill men, nursing professionals need to maintain effective close loop communication in both the patients and the nursing professionals can share their thoughts, feeling and issues thereby maintaining a healthy and trustworthy relationship between them.

Ping Pong Theory of communication:

The ping pong theory of communication is widely used by modern nursing professionals while conducting online communication with mentally ill men. Evidence suggests that young men belonging to the age group 18-30 years who suffer from the mentally ill are more likely to suffer from depression, loneliness, ego, bereavement, anxiety and frustration (Waring et al. 2018). In this context, while determining their needs, nursing professional must use such an online model of communication that will not only assist the mental health needs of the patients but also empower the mentally ill men by providing them with mental, emotional and psychological support (Wu, 2018). This support can only be given if nurses use the ping pong theory on communication while using the online mode of interaction, based this theory while treating mental il men, nurses must such a communication system in which the nursing professional will work in partnership with the mentally ill men, thereby allowing the men to discuss what the current mental health issues and what types treatment and support they expect from the care professionals.

Effectiveness of virtual communication and online confidential forum:

Modern nursing professionals use online mode of communication to interact with mentally ill men which assist nurses to avoid the chances of any time and location barriers thereby fasten the overall care delivery (Zanaboni et al. 2020). Through maintaining online communication, nurses are not only able to maintain a transparent information delivery system with mentally ill men, but also engage with many people at one time to discuss the mental health issues of patients, their medication and the usefulness of the entire treatment process (Malhotra et al. 2019). The online confidential forum helps mental health nurses to improve their skill and expertise regarding using the effective treatment process and high standard care delivery techniques to improve care delivery of mentally ill mem. The online confidential forum also assists nurses to develop their knowledge and skill in how to understand the psychology and emotion of mentally ill men (Negash et al. 2018). Through using online communication nurses can interact with many health care professionals of different health and social care organization thereby getting their valuable advice and instruction regarding what innovative treatment can be used in case of meeting the mental health needs of patients. On the other hand, through using audiovisual online communication nurses can see patient’s expression, their appearance and listen to this voice clearly which enables the nurse to understand the psychology and feeling of the patients (Pal et al. 2018). On the other hand, online communication enables the nurse to provide immediate clinical support to mentally ill men at times of emergency. For example, when a man of above 20 suffers from bipolar disorder at late night when there are no doctors available in the ward, online communication is the only effective communication process that assists the nurses to contact the doctors and psychotherapist together through video conferencing to develop an effective plan to improve the patient mental condition (Peate et al. 2017). On the other hand, through maintaining effective online communication nurses can save their time which they can spend for others patients. Evidence suggests that online communication also reduces the stress, emotional distress and psychological pain in the mentally ill patient. From the overall discussion, it can be stated that online communication and online confidential forum are highly effective in mental health nursing that enable nurses to improve the care experiences of mentally ill men.

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Gaps of literature:

One of the major gaps of the selected literature is that they are unable to highlight the factors that act that potential barriers to maintaining effective online communication between mental health patient and nurses. Another drawback of literature is that the selected literature is failed to discuss the tools of techniques that can be used in avoiding the cons of online communication such as lack of empathetic nature, lack of sharing of feeling and poor delivery of emotional support as compared to face to face communication.


From the literature review, it can be concluded that effective online communication is highly useful in terms of fastening the care delivery and treatment process to mentally ill men of 198-30 years. The online communication and online confidential forum are useful in assisting nurses to maintain healthy and positives relationship with the mentally ill patient that assist nurses to detect patient’s mental health needs and psychology.

Reference list:

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Antonacci, G., Colladon, A.F., Stefanini, A. and Gloor, P., 2017. It is rotating leaders who build the swarm: Social network determinants of growth for healthcare virtual communities of practice. Journal of Knowledge Management.

Chau, K.Y., Lam, M.H.S., Cheung, M.L., Tso, E.K.H., Flint, S.W., Broom, D.R., Tse, G. and Lee, K.Y., 2019. Smart technology for healthcare: Exploring the antecedents of adoption intention of healthcare wearable technology. Health psychology research, 7(1).

Chen, L., Baird, A. and Straub, D., 2019. Why do participants continue to contribute? Evaluation of usefulness voting and commenting motivational affordances within an online knowledge community. Decision Support Systems, 118, pp.21-32.

Cipolletta, S. and Mocellin, D., 2018. Online counseling: An exploratory survey of Italian psychologists’ attitudes towards new ways of interaction. Psychotherapy research, 28(6), pp.909-924.

Eker, S., 2020. Validity and usefulness of COVID-19 models. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 7(1), pp.1-5.

Ghasemaghaei, M., Hassanein, K. and Benbasat, I., 2019. Assessing the design choices for online recommendation agents for older adults: Older does not always mean simpler information technology. Mis Quarterly, 43(1), pp.329-346.

Hall, A.K., Backonja, U., Painter, I., Cakmak, M., Sung, M., Lau, T., Thompson, H.J. and Demiris, G., 2017. Acceptance and perceived usefulness of robots to assist with activities of daily living and healthcare tasks. Assistive Technology.

Hazzam, J. and Lahrech, A., 2018. Health care professionals’ social media behavior and the underlying factors of social media adoption and use: Quantitative study. Journal of medical Internet research, 20(11), p.e12035.

James, T.L., Calderon, E.D.V. and Cook, D.F., 2017. Exploring patient perceptions of healthcare service quality through analysis of unstructured feedback. Expert Systems with Applications, 71, pp.479-492.

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Malhotra, S., Chakrabarti, S. and Shah, R., 2019. A model for digital mental healthcare: Its usefulness and potential for service delivery in low-and middle-income countries. Indian journal of psychiatry, 61(1), p.27.

Martínez-Caro, E., Cegarra-Navarro, J.G., García-Pérez, A. and Fait, M., 2018. Healthcare service evolution towards the Internet of Things: An end-user perspective. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 136, pp.268-276.

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Sims, J.M., 2018. Communities of practice: Telemedicine and online medical communities. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 126, pp.53-63.

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