Mental health nursing is one of the most challenging and complex areas of nursing in which to work. Research has shown that as many as one in four people suffer from a mental health / Addiction problem during their lives, which brings into sharp relief the sheer importance of mental health nurses. A mental health nurse may help people overcome depression caused by unforeseen events in their lives, teach practical coping skills to resolve or better manage anxiety, work as part of a drug or alcohol abuse team or help treat patients afflicted with broad range of mental health problems – anything from neuroses and personality disorders to psychoses.
They will be involved in a wide range of treatment, such as medication reconciliation / review / education, occupational therapy, de-escalation techniques and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) in order to help patients manage their mental illnesses. They will try to assess and understand the needs of their clients, conduct risk assessments and create care plans, liaising and/or referring to other specialties as appropriate. Generally, mental health nurses must also have good communication skills, patience, emotional and mental strength, a non-judgemental approach, and high levels of self-motivation and confidence. In addition, these nurses will be at the forefront of combatting the stigma surrounding mental illness, and helping their patients and families deal with it. They will need to be experts at diffusing tense moments that might escalate to violence and, of course, have a good understanding of the theories of mental health and illnesses.