Founded in 2012, Symptom Media is an online mental health continuing education course collection and film library available via subscription.  Symptom Media began as a collaboration between mental health experts and filmmakers, focusing on visual education tools that destigmatize mental health education, increase empathy, and improve symptom recognition and understanding.  Since its inception, Symptom Media’s library has grown to over 600 mental health simulations including assessment tools, DSM 5 & ICD 10 guided films used by countless health care professionals as well as over 400 universities, colleges, and medical schools.


Nursing and Mental Health Education

Nurses are critical to addressing America’s mental health crisis.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), worldwide “450 million people suffer from a mental or behavioral problem and nearly one million people commit suicide every year. Depression, alcohol use disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are among the ten leading causes of disability worldwide.”

Nurses encounter mental health issues on a daily basis, and often are the first to confront a mental health crisis.  “In most countries, nurses are the largest group of professionals providing mental health care in both primary and specialist health services. However, in many countries the psychiatric education of nurses is inadequate and their role in providing mental health care is underdeveloped. Appropriately trained nurses can contribute to the promotion of mental health and the prevention and treatment of mental disorders.” (WHO)

How Can Symptom Media Enhance my Career?

Mental health touches every facet of our lives and clinical practices, from our own mental well-being, to every interaction and treatment plan for patients.  No matter the setting, be it a hospital, private practice, or school, understanding and being able to respond to a patient’s mental health needs will vastly improve care.  The first step in bringing mental health awareness into your practice is through education.

A common barrier to mental health education is the vast difference between a written case study that describes symptoms of a particular diagnosis, and actually seeing those symptoms unfold in real time.  A video patient simulation bridges that gap by utilizing narrative storytelling to portray someone facing a mental health crisis in what would otherwise be a written case and hard to visualize.  Watching a clinician conduct a patient assessment, say for example, a Mental Status Exam or Suicide Assessment, versus simply reading through a questionnaire, can better prepare you for those situations in real life.  Video clinical simulations can bring to life various interview techniques, show patient de-escalation and intervention techniques, and showcase more nuances then reading alone. 

With busy schedules, balancing work and responsibilities at home, it can be hard to find the time and bandwidth to fulfill CE requirements.  And when you do carve out the time, you ideally want to be engaged when learning something new.  Symptom Media’s courses mix slides with short video case studies and expert analysis to create dynamic learning experience.  .

Studies show that students prefer blended learning, and have better outcomes and greater knowledge retention when multiple media types are used in the learning process, not just written content but video as well.  Symptom Media’s courses feature blended learning, including PowerPoints, dynamic DSM 5 & ICD 10 video case studies, and interactive subject expert analysis of video case studies that highlight symptoms observed, verbal & non-verbal cues, interview & intervention techniques employed, a discussion of outcomes, and more.  

Symptom Media’s CE Courses

Symptom Media’s mental health continuing education course collection offers nurses, and other health care professionals, ANCC accredited courses built around Symptom Media’s library of DSM 5 and ICD 10 guided video case studies and assessment tools.  Instructors of Symptom Media’s courses, bring the dynamic, blended learning experience to CE’s.  Within each course, you will watch one or more video case study while the instructor breaks down, in real-time, the learning points raised from the patient interaction.  Those lessons can include:

  • Analysis of a patient’s verbal and non-verbal cues, such as posture, eye-contact, gestures, and more.
  • A breakdown of the symptoms unfolding that lead to a clinical diagnosis.
  • A discussion of potential treatment recommendations.
  • Identification of best practices, as well as intervention and de-escalation techniques used.
  • A critique of the clinical interview to highlight what was done well by the clinician and why, and what could be improved if you were to see this patient.

What Do I Get When I Subscribe to Symptom Media?

A subscription to Symptom Media gives you access to the entire library of 600+ films and the full ANCC and ACCME accredited CE course collection, in addition to all new film and course releases.  Some of Symptom Media’s courses include:

  • How to conduct a Suicide Assessment.
  • The Mental Status Exam.
  • Various courses identifying types of dementia.
  • Courses on personality disorders.
  • Bipolar in Manic State with Hypersexuality
  • Understanding Cannabis Use and Cannabis Use Disorder.
  • Understanding melancholic features in Major Depressive Disorder
  • And many more!

As a nurse, issues of mental health inform your work daily.  If you’d like to incorporate mental health case studies and courses into your continuing education, Symptom Media would like to offer you a special discount for Fresh RN’s nurses week.  Just use the code FreshRN for 25% off your order!  Go to: to learn more today!

More Resources for Mental Health Education:

About the Author

Stephanie Arnold is an Adult Psychiatric/Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist working as an advanced practice nurse in psychiatry. She holds an undergraduate degree in Celtic Studies from UC Berkeley, an MSN from Cal State Los Angeles, and is a doctoral candidate in the University of Alabama’s DNP program. Stephanie also teaches mental health nursing to graduate and undergraduate students. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and Golden Key International Honour Societies. She was inducted into a chapter of the Philanthropic Educational Organization and is an active member serving on the Ways and Means Committee. Stephanie is an instructor for Symptom Media’s mental health CE courses.