Using Avatars in a Phased Approach Behavioral Health Education Series
Samantha Marotta, BSN, RN, CEN
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<p>Patients seeking care at health care facilities not only need their medical health care needs addressed, but “the majority of patients receiving services through their health care provider also suffer from psychological and psychosocial problems” (Wodarski, 2014, p. 302). According to Ramos et al. (2013), in the younger population between the ages of 12 and 15 years old, 13% of patients met “diagnostic criteria for a mental health disorder within the previous year” (p. 712).</p>
<p>Currently, staff education does not specifically address behavioral health or give employees the knowledge and tools for use in behavioral health crises. In an ideal state, staff education will incorporate interactive learning methods that focus on diseases and treatment and communication best practices.</p>
<p>Phase one of this behavioral health education rollout will focus on materials about common behavioral health conditions with basic communication tips for every employee. In phase two, an interactive tablet application (app) is being developed to engage patient facing clinicians with the communication tools they need to successfully connect, intervene, and possibly de-escalate the person suffering from a behavioral health crisis. The app will be avatar based where the learner’s avatar will interact with the tablet patient avatar. Learners will employ specific techniques that can be applied to the avatars that will display diverse emotions and actions in multiple different behavioral health scenarios.</p>
<p>Upon completion of both phases, learners will feel more confident in their communication, be more knowledgeable of common behavioral health disorders, and be aware of community resources that exist for patient referral.</p>
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mental health issues
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