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JUN 27/2014

The ins and outs of being a mental health nurse

Mental health nursing jobs have always been one of the best ways for healthcare professionals to find constantly rewarding, challenging, enriching and important work within the NHS.

Although this line of work can be challenging in a number of unique ways, many people will find they relish the opportunity to form important relationships with patients and colleagues alike, while helping people in the greatest need of support.

At present, mental health care is becoming more vital than ever before, meaning there has never been a better time to explore the possible opportunities mental health nursing careers can provide.

Skills and responsibilities
In the UK, as many as one in three people are thought to suffer some form of mental health problem, spanning a wide variety of neuroses, psychological conditions and personality disorders. Some can be brought on by traumatic events, while others affect patients from birth, changing and evolving over the course of a lifetime.

Mental health nurses can expect to work with both children and adults in hospital and community settings, managing healthy therapeutic relationships between themselves, patients and their families.

This line of work can take staff in all sorts of possible directions. They may be based in community healthcare centres, day hospitals, outpatient departments or specialist units, while in their day-to-day working they will interact with GPs, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, healthcare assistants and others.

A number of different treatment approaches are used in the field of mental health, playing to the different strengths of individual professionals. Creative types can get involved in art therapy; procedurally-minded people may favour cognitive behavioural therapy; those who prefer to talk through issues can help to offer psychotherapy, to give a few examples.

Employees will also have plenty of scope to work their way up a career ladder and apply their skills to management roles later down the line.

Forming bonds and fostering healthy communication
One of the key goals of mental health nursing is to form bonds and connect personally with patients who may be suffering from depression or other conditions affecting their state of mind. As such, nurses will be expected to have strong personalities, warm dispositions and good communication skills.

In doing so, staff will be able to help patients and their families to deal with and overcome the stigma often attached to mental illness, helping them to deal with their emotions and feelings, bring laughter when necessary, and defuse potentially tense situations before they escalate.

Not everyone possesses the personality type to cope with such demands, but for those who do, there are few jobs that are more rewarding.

An increasingly important field
This comes at a time when the government is making high-profile efforts to enhance the provision of mental health care in the UK, pursuing a strategy that aims to ensure mental and physical health matters are given equal prioritisation within the NHS.

New funding is being allocated to training staff who can provide specialist mental health care, while efforts are also being made to accelerate diagnostic pathways for mental disorders and open up access to a wider range of services.

This could mean there are more jobs and opportunities available to mental health nurses than ever before in the years to come.

Check out some of our latest mental health nursing jobs here.

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