Mental health nursing is a very rewarding job. If you are passionate about people, then you will want to embark on a career in psychiatric and mental health nursing. Money is secondary when you care about people and their health and well being.

It’s not an easy path, the role is very complex and demanding. You will work long hours and deal with a variety of problems. There is not a one size fits all solution to mental health nursing. You will have to draw on experience and knowledge in order to help people become mentally well. Dealing with issues of the mind means that you will have a complex job role. There is no perfect science in mental health. Dealing with people with mental health issues will result in you needing to be retargetful in your approach. You will be backed by a team of mental health professionals from all walks of life. This means that you don’t have to help people alone. The support of your colleagues will prove to be valuable during your career.


Mental health nurses deal with a lot of emotional issues. This can be tough on the nurse. But, you will have support. If you have got what it takes to be a mental health nurse, you must read on. This could be the perfect career for you.


nursingIf you are keen to become a mental health professional, you will need to embark on a university career. Studying A-Levels will guarantee you a place at an accredited university. You need to obtain the much needed grades. Typically, you will need to obtain grades A to C at A-Level so that you can obtain UCAS points. These UCAS points will be put onto your chosen universities application. The points and grade systems vary between institutions. You will need to research your chosen university and make sure that you meet their requirements.


Once you have done this, you are ready go into Nursing as a Bachelor of Science undergraduate. Your course will last for three years, and you will be allowed to specialise in the second year of your undergraduate program. This is dependent on you passing your first year of university.


As a mental health professional, you will specialise in mental health. You will be required to go on placements so that you are fully aware of the issues that people with mental face. You cannot learn nursing from a textbook. You need to be out in the field, interacting with experienced nurses and the mentally ill.


Upon completion of your undergraduate studies, you can undertake various courses. You may want to do a Masters degree in your specialist subject. Further study is not mandatory, but many people choose to do this for their own professional development.




Many people choose to start their nursing careers within the NHS. This is particularly true of nursing graduates in mental health. There are opportunities to work within the community, in residential homes or hospital settings. You may want to work in private health care. The choice is yours. Take a look at KentSCP for current vacancies.


Types of Mental Health Nurses


You can choose to go into many different specialist areas once you have completed your studies:

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Mental Health Nursing in the Community
  • Social Work
  • Outpatients
  • Specialist Care


Therapeutic Relationships


Mental health issues can range from mild to severe. In your role as a mental health professional, you will have to make sure that you are able to deal with any individual. Their needs may be specific, and you will have to tailor your working approach accordingly. This can be difficult. What is more, it can be demanding. You may be treating people with depression. However, you could be treating people with personality disorders.


You will have to face people with a wide range of problems. You will be the first port of call for people with mental health impairments. What is more, this is a pivotal part of being a mental health nurse. You should be able to listen, talk and be non-judgemental of your patients. Advice is not mandatory in this role. But, being non-judgement is critical.


As a nurse, you will have the backing of your peers. This will not simply be your nurse colleagues. Other mental health professionals include:

  • GPs
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrists
  • Arts Therapists
  • Healthcare Assistants


With such a significant group of peers to rely on, you can make sure that your patients are getting the best healthcare possible.


Helping people get back to ‘normal’ is essential. Helping people cope with their issues is critical. You should endeavour to be caring and kind with your patients. Mental health issues are as serious as those with physical illnesses. While you may not see their problems, they are very much there.


Your Skills


As a professional, you will need to make sure that you have a strong personality. You need to be kind, sympathetic and caring. You are going to need to demonstrate dazzling communication skills with your peers and your patients. Being able to effectively explain issues to your peers is imperative. Your patients need you to be clear and concise.


You will also need to have the much talked about ‘bedside manner.’ Many patients families will be at a loss. You will need to keep them calm and reassured. Your role is very varied. As a mental health nurse, you are the glue that keeps everything together for everyone involved.


Mental health nurses can be put into dangerous situations. The ability to demonstrate a clear head and the ability to not panic is key. You will have to ensure that safety of yourself, your colleagues and your patients. Doing this can be difficult, but you will be taught how to deal with demanding situations during the course of your career. Learning on the job is a part of being a nurse.


In Summary


Being a nurse is not easy. You will work long hours. You will be subjected to a wide range of demanding circumstances. This can be tough, but it is so rewarding. You will love being a nurse.