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Mental Health Policy for Nurses

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Title: Mental Health Policy for Nurses

Edited by: Hulatt, I

Publisher: SAGE

Reviewer: Evelyn Martin, senior lecturer,  West Virginia University - USA

What was it like?

This book presents a comprehensive overview on mental health policy and services in the UK. The authors present a general idea of Mental Health policy and services from an expert opinion against the backdrop of constant National Health Services policy changes, with regards to the future. Understanding policy in any nursing environment is vital. The overviews presented in this book demonstrate the importance of Mental Health Policy in Nursing, especially during a time of significant and tumultuous regulation.

I found the first chapter to be cumbersome and difficult to read – owning to the fact of not living in the UK, spelling, lack of commas, and extremely long sentences were difficult to grasp for someone learning policy from a foreign country for the first time. Policy is hard enough to read and understand, therefore such a strong beginning made it difficult to want to read more.

Once past that, the information presented the rest of the book was very informative, easy to read, and important for every nurse, whether student or experienced nurse to know and understand. This book covered community services, government involvement with tighter control, the care program approach, and the community mental health centres and teams. In addition, the authors discussed psychosis, aging and the elderly, the elderly in social isolation, dementia, and personality disorders. The authors touch on service users and carers’ involvement and the importance of humanizing care and promoting recovery through utilizing evidence-based practices and legal framework. There is a chapter on child mental health, as well as dual diagnosis. The concluding chapter simply covers putting policy into action, another valuable addition to this book.

What were the highlights? 

Each chapter provided its own flavour to the reader and provided various insights to the mental health policy and settings in the UK. Chapter five - Older People - was a great read and a real life picture of what working with the elderly is like. I especially liked the activities in this chapter and the fact that the author used examples from real life cases. Chapter four gave two important good cases in the UK as well, in their discussion of psychosis.

Strengths & weaknesses:

I found the chapter overviews helpful and the various authors a plus. The reflective activities will be valuable to the student in self-reflection, as we all tend to learn more once presented with a different view from our own and are made to reflect on that view. I loved the activities in chapter five and this chapter in general.

The only weakness I found was the first chapter by Nolan and that is was a difficult read.  The information in that chapter is valuable and necessary to set the stage for the rest of the book, but so very dry and difficult.

Who should read it?

Anyone working in nursing, from the student, the novice nurse, to the experienced nurse should read this book.  Policy makes us better nurses and helps guide our practice.

Mental Health Policy for Nurses

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