Working In Mental Health


I have been working as a mental health nurse in the NHS since 2013 and whilst it may not seem like a long time. I feel that it hasn't taken me long to really get to grips with the profession. 

Mental health nursing is both challenging and rewarding, and it can also teach you a lot about yourself. In my current role as a community psychiatric nurse, there is a likelihood that I could be working with a client for a number of years all depending on their treatment plan and their needs. 

Whilst I have my own challenges in my role, my clients have their own. A topic that comes up quite often is being diagnosed with a mental illness and the stigma associated with this. A lot of the clients I have met see that having a diagnosis can put to bed a lot of questions that they have about themselves. However others are shaped by their diagnosis and feel restricted by it. 

The latter is very understandable and I feel that it is my role, if I am ever confronted by this, to offer holistic care and to treat my clients as individuals. It is very easy to generalise and to put certain individuals into the same category, however this does not always create good therapeutic relationships. 

I feel that it is important to recognise as individuals, that we all have mental health, whether it be good in terms of being able to cope with certain situations. Then on the other hand if we have not so good mental health, whereby we may require support from mental health services maybe once or twice in lives or even for the rest of our lives. 

I have seen cases whereby a client has had a very good job, friends, a flat etc. and something happens which affects their mental health and a lot of those aspects in their life which would be considered as stabilising or positive maybe not be there anymore. 

The loss of certain things in a persons life mixed with being diagnosed with a mental illness can be scary for some people. 

The most common ways in which someone can be supported with their diagnosis, may be to speak to others about their experiences. I have often referred some of my clients to peer support groups and this has been quite helpful to some people. Another way could be to offer as much information as possible on any medications they have been prescribed so that they know what to be aware of. 

Psychological therapies may also be a way of offering someone a better way of dealing with their diagnosis or any symptoms they are experiencing. 

More than anything I find that in my role if I can offer an ear to someone and just listen, then that can often be a good way of helping someone feel a bit better. 


Sometimes it's the simple things that we take for granted, which in turn can help others. 


Written by,

Shannon Wade 

Community Psychiatric Nurse