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Our columnists share their perspective on topical subjects relevant to mental health practice.
A story of hope for lonely children
Having a loved one with a mental health problem is often stressful and overwhelming. But what if you are only a child and the person who is unwell is your parent? The impact of parental mental illness is well-documented (Falkov 1998, Aldridge and Becker 2003). In the case of depression, children often blame themselves for their parent's illness, so it is essential that they are given hope that their parent will improve, reassurance that they will not develop the disorder themselves and greater certainty for the future (Garley et al 1997).
Back to the dark age?
Recently, I read a history of mental health nursing and was reminded that there has never been 'a golden age'.
Breaking down boundaries
Relationships formed between mental health nurses and their clients can be defined, in general terms, as detached, partnerships or real.
Bridge the gap
For six months I have been involved in the Health Foundation's Closing the Gap research project, which aims to improve activities on inpatient wards across the country.
Coming up roses
Joanne Davis describes a project in which staff and patients designed and created a garden, with unexpected benefits.
Conquering the leviathan
Consider the following analogy: if the mind is perceived as an ocean then mental illness could be the evasive, biblical sea monster known as the leviathan. In my experience as a nursing student on placements, common perceptions of mental illness portray it as an unmanageable beast residing in the darkness, nestling far beyond our nursing capabilities.
Crossing care boundaries
While training to become a mental health nurse, Penny Johnson decided she would look for work in an acute care hospital. Here, she describes her unusual job
So the NHS will now go through the biggest re-organisation in its history.
Equality in diversity
No Health without Mental Health (Department of Health (DH) 2011a), the new cross-government mental health strategy, describes how mental health outcomes for people from diverse communities can be improved.
As part of a university assignment, I was asked to reflect on the degree to which I am ageist, using Butler's (1969) definition of ageism. When I was younger I thought that old people were boring or even somewhat sinister: boring because the only older people I knew sat at the back in church, fussing about any decisions that they considered threatened the status quo, and sinister because they seemed frightening. I associated them with the musty smell of church and of getting told off - often unfairly in my opinion. These opinions were not strongly held, they were just assumptions that lay dormant and, therefore, unchallenged.