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#WeNurses - There's no health without mental health

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Did you miss the latest #WeNurses chat which discussed mental health? Let us sum it up for you…

As an adult branch nurse I have always been aware that mental health and physical health are closely entwined and it is something that I often see when nursing; however until @PaulStudentMHN suggested the #WeNurses chat “There’s no health without mental health” I had never stopped to really consider the impact of mental health on health.

This chat started with @WeNurses asking “There’s no health without mental health < what are people’s experiences of this ?? Is it true ?”

@LDstudentnurse tweeted “Definitely true from my perspective, I live with bipolar and it affects all my health”

@MandyHollis3 agreed “Yes its true and it needs to work across all healthcare settings”

@salsa442 said “Mental health is intrinsically linked with physical health in my exp”

@MrsCFlatt added “It features everywhere! All part of the holistic approach! Wish it featured more in my training as an RGN”

@MandyHollis3 then raised this issue of the strategy document ”Have people read the strategy document?” she then tweeted “The document states people with serious MI can have a shorter life expectancy & people with phys hlth probs can have MH probs.”

@MrsCFlatt said “‘Theres no health without mental health’ completely agree, all part of the holistic approach! Wish it featured more in my training”

@S_Amani tweeted “The shorter lifespan is sadly true and evidenced in many research papers

The issue of training was then discussed:

@MandyHollis3 said “As an RMN working in an acute gen hosp, nurses often tell me they don’t know how to deal with people with MH problems (confidence)”

@Caltwit said “Is it confidence or need for training?”

@S_Amani tweeted “I think you are right, it is both. Training is crucial, so is programme of reflective practice”

@MandyHollis3 then asked “So the question is, do nurses feel they get enough training to deliver the key areas of action in this strategy?”

@PaulStudentMHN stated ”I raised this point with my a MH student we only touch the surface of Physical health.”

@LDstudentnurse said “LD branch cover mental health a lot in training as it is high profile that PWLD have high incidences of MH issues”

@MrsCFlatt tweeted “I am an adult nurse, love MH and it plays a big part on the wards however it’s not covered in great depth at Uni!” and then added “Wish I had had the opportunity to have a MH placement though!”

The chat then progressed to opportunities for MH placements whilst training:

@princessandtoad said “I think its a shame not all student nurses get the chance to actually do a mental health placement”

@JamezyJa stated “As a student nurse mentor for “adult” nurses I feel many of the objectives students have does not include MH issues/assessment”

@MandyHollis3 tweeted ”Yes, the issue of confidence & training crossed adult, MH, LD etc. I was lucky, did 2 surg placements but usually just 1”

This thread of the chat then evolved into discussing dual registration:

@MrsCFlatt said “I for one would be happy to train generally for 3yrs then specialise….the path I’ll likely take!”

@S_Amani said “Thats a good suggestion. Doesn’t US train nurses in general nursing then in #mentalhealth”

@PaulStudentMHN tweeted “We dont have to be specialists in all, however we need to be competent in all we do!”

@S_Amani stated “We need a hybrid all singing all dancing RN + RMN :-)”

@Caltwit said “Problems identified training pre &post reg, confidence and exposure. Now how do we move forward”

@WeNurses then asked “How can nurses promote the equal value & correlation between mental and physical health ?”

@MandyHollis3 answered “Starting point - talk to pts & consider what actions we can take as individuals 2 improve how we address whole person health needs”

@politicalnurse said “If we (as nurses) are working holistically surely we must think holistically - there is no mind - body split?”

Using service users in teaching was discussed:

@PaulStudentMHN said “I think service users should come in to uni and teach from their perspective”

@politicalnurse tweeted “Service users are very willing to come and teach but not everyone is willing to pay them - also the benefit trap?”

@Caltwit added “At #UEL this happens students are struck by the real experience”

@Bartontd said “We have a dedicated Service User group who teach and interview” and went on to say “We pay expenses and a modest gratuity - they are very active in our Nurse programme”

@MandyHollis3 said “Yes patient / service user stories are very powerful in all areas of health/care”

As the chat drew to a close @WeNurses asked “What can we as individual nurses do, following this chat, to make a difference?”

@LDstudentnurse tweeted “Be prepared to share experiences and talk openly with anyone who does tell you they have MH issues”

@politicalnurse said “We need to treat people as human beings not objects”

@princessandtoad stated “Just remember that the service user isn’t just an illness they have feelings too”

@PaulStudentMHN finally added “If we have a knowledge gap then we have a duty of care to fill it!”

In nursing our specialties are clearly defined - adult, mental health, learning disabilities and child - but in reality these specialties are not quite so clear cut. The interwoven connections between mental and physical health are very intricate - mental health effects physical health and in turn physical health affects mental health so neither aspects should be given precedence. We often bandy about the word “holistic” but are we really giving holistic care to our patients? I have often seen how the condition of a patient who is depressed can deteriorate throughout the course of my career and I am very aware of the impact this has, but in order to provide holistic care we need to ensure that all areas of health are considered with all patients and implementations are put in place to improve the health and well-being of each patient. We need to ask ourselves - have we considered every aspect of this person’s health, and are we really providing holistic care?

Teresa Chinn is a nurse, a blogger and social media specialist and leads the #WeNurses discussions for WeNurses. Follow @WeNurses on Twitter.

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Liz Fletcher

    To learn more about BN mental health nursing degrees at the University of Southampton, just visit the Health Sciences website at

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