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NHS Health Education East of England

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Home  »  Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting  »  Nursing  »  Mental Health Nursing

Mental Health Nursing

Last updated: 26 April 2012


As many as one in three people have a mental health problem at some point in their life, regardless of their age or background.  Conditions range from personality and psychological disorders to neuroses and psychoses.  Nurses who choose to specialise in the mental health branch of nursing, a complex and demanding area, work with a wide rang of people including:

  • Art and Drama therapists
  • General Practitioners
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Social workers

All these staff have a role in promoting interprofessional learning/working and delivery of quality care for patients with mental illnesses.

Increasingly, care is given in the community, with mental health nurses visiting patients and their families at home, in residential centres, in prisons or in specialist clinics or units. This is a valuable role that provides much reward and satisfaction.

Your work as a mental health nurse will involve:

  • a great deal of autonomy in planning and delivering patient care within the healthcare team
  • opportunities to specialise in areas such as alcohol and drug misuse, the use of excellent communication skills and an ability to empathise with people and understand their problems
  • liaising with a patients' families and listening to and advising those who live with or care for the patient
  • dealing with occasional aggression in a sensitive and effective way.


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