Analysis of Health Education Pamphlet: Helping Yourself Heal When Your Spouse Dies Mental health is an important component of overall healthcare, but it is often overlooked. Although society has become more aware of mental health issues, there is still a stigma perceived, and individuals are often reluctant to disclose their mental health issues for fear of rejection, prejudice or avoidance by others (Turner, 2013). Grief and the grieving process is a common aspect of mental health; this pamphlet’s target audience is individuals who have lost their partner (Wolfelt, 2011). The goal is to provide information and reassurance that their grieving is normal and necessary. The analysis of this pamphlet will include an examination of its layout appeal, content and quality of information, an assessment of the reading level and its appropriateness for the target audience, clarity, examples of health care promotion, usefulness, cultural sensitivity and competence, along with helpful tips for self-care and health management.
A first glance at this pamphlet shows a soothing but attractive picture of a dandelion in full seed. The background is a muted brick red/brown, with the dandelions depicted in light blue that lighten further to bright white in the center. The title is in white with the word “Spouse” enlarged. This certainly catches one’s eye and clearly announces the target audience it intends. The interior of the pamphlet is all text but divided into titled sections of two paragraphs each. The section titles could read separately from the rest of the content and still lend insight to the reader.
For example, the first four section titles are as follows: Acknowledge Your Loss, Allow Yourself to Mourn; Recognize Your Grief is Unique, and Talk Out Your Thoughts and Feelings. The background of the interior is white, the print in black, with the exception of the section titles, which are in blue ink. There are faint pictures of dandelions on the interior, carrying over the cover design. Overall it is very pleasing and attractive. Content and Quality of Information
The content of this pamphlet was developed by Dr. Alan Wolfelt, Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition and faculty at the University of Colorado Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine. Dr. Wolfelt has written extensively on the subject of grief and loss, as well as conducting classes in the subject. Each of the titled sections is two paragraphs and covers just one aspect of grief and loss. It can be read in one sitting or one section at a time. The information of the pamphlet covers the entire grieving process and offers reassurance, comfort, and empathy without being rigid about the grieving process. It allows an individual to take in as much as they can, and then refer to the pamphlet as a reference.
Reading Level/Appropriate Literacy Level
Delgado and Weitzel conclude in their study on literacy of lower-income urban adults that most participants had “reading and comprehension levels at beginning high school level” (Delgado, 2013), and suggest that clients may have difficulty understanding the offered information. They recommend that printed information for the general public be written on a level to ensure comprehension by the target audience – at the 8th to 9th grade level (Delgado, 2013). The content of this pamphlet flows nicely and was analyzed using two different reading level assessment tools: ATOS (ATOS Assessment, 2014) and SMOG (SMOG Assessment Overview, 2012).
The ATOS scoring placed the content of the pamphlet at the 8th grade reading and comprehension level, with the SMOG scoring slightly higher at the 9th grade reading and comprehension level. Overall, the pamphlet meets the recommendations of Delgado and Weitzel, and should be readily understandable by most adults. As this pamphlet is targeted for adults who have experienced the death of a spouse, the pamphlet is entirely appropriate in reading and comprehension levels.
The target audience and intent of this pamphlet are clear from the first glance and onward. It contains concise and useful information and gentle guidance while stressing individuality. The content is written in plain language and is easily understood. Each section has a title and addresses only what the title states, creating manageable bits of information. It does not overwhelm the reader.
This pamphlet provides much useful information on the grieving process. It gives examples of the types of emotions one might experience during grief
and reassures the reader that each person grieves in their own way. It gives valuable information and reassurance without becoming “preachy” and patronizing. Different aspects of grief are explored and explained, and the reader is encouraged to embrace their grief, experience it and know that to suppress the grief and emotions accompanying it can be detrimental.
Cultural Sensitivity and Competence
While the pamphlet does not address specific cultural differences, it does acknowledge that there are cultural differences exist. The author also encourages the reader to embrace their own cultural traditions pertaining the death, loss and grieving that will bring them and their families comfort.
Helpful Tips for Self-Care and Health Management
Many helpful tips are offered in this pamphlet; from acknowledging grief and mourning to finding support systems to dealing with the possessions of the deceased. The overall tone of the pamphlet is one of acceptance, reassurance, and comfort. It encourages the reader to be compassionate with oneself, to be open about the pain of loss and not to repress emotions. It also informs the reader that they will experience a range of emotions, sometimes within a short period of time, and that it is normal. This is a gentle and useful pamphlet that offers both comfort and a guideline to aid a person through the grief of the loss of their partner.
ATOS Assessment. (2014). Retrieved from Renaissance.com: http://www.renaissance.com/Products.Accelerated-Reader/ATOS Delgado, C. &. (2013). Reading comprehension levels in a sample of urban, low-income persons. Health Education Journal 72(3), 345-350. SMOG Assessment Overview. (2012). Retrieved from Havard.edu: http://www.cdnl.sph.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/135/2012/09/pdfSMOGoverview Turner, R. N. (2013). Combating the mental health stigma with nostalgia. European Journal Of Social Psychology, 43(5), 413-422. Wolfelt, A. (2011). Helping yourself heal when your spouse dies. Fort Collins, CO: Companion Press.