Mental Health Awareness Month & MHNs

Wednesday 21st September 2022 by @WeMHNurses

October 10th is "World mental health awareness day" organised by The World Health Organisation.

"The overall objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health.

The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide."

The @WeMHnurses community will be spending the whole of October focusing on the "opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work" part of World Mental Health day, as just one day is far from enough time to talk about and share all the work Mental health nurses do!

We have two main focuses this month:

1 - Four Monday 8pm #WeMHNs tweetchats lined up throughout October (see below), guest hosted and supported by mental health nursing leaders; see them all here... 

2 - The co-creation of a new way of identifying and sharing What's Working Well in Mental Health Nursing via #WWWinMHN twitter videos, created by you! These will form discussion points for our final mental health nursing awareness chat on October 24th. This is something that is new and we hope will help us all pick up some new practices and opportunities to help us be as effective as possible right now. 

As we know, the mental health nurse’s role is pivotal in delivering holistic, high-quality care to people of all ages who are experiencing a range of difficulties, emotional distress, and/or mental illness. The unique nature of mental health nursing means it is an emotionally demanding but rewarding career choice requiring exceptional dedication.

The role encompasses a wide range of healthcare functions including system working, reducing health inequalities, leading service transformation, staff retention and recruitment, staff education and development and using research, evidence, and quality improvement to inform practice. It requires humility, passion and commitment to deliver care using evidence-based interventions combined with personal attributes, insights, perceptions and judgments; through October's tweetchats we will be touching on many of these topics and making them visible to our Twitter followers. 

Mental health nurses have the privilege of caring for people of all ages during some of the most difficult times in their lives and supporting them in a highly personalised way towards recovery.  They deliver care using a range of evidence-based interventions, tailored to meet each person’s individual needs, preferences and goals.  This requires great skill combined with insight, empathy, compassion and careful judgement, and great personal tenacity.

Why Now?

The past two years have been unlike any in the history of the NHS and they have presented huge challenges for our profession.

Mental health nurses have seen significant increases in demand for mental health support at a time when delivery of that support has been very challenging.  Mental health nurses across England and beyond responded to the challenges of the COVID 19 pandemic with resilience, compassion, dedication, and innovation, underpinned by an absolute commitment to excellent person-centred care.

WeCommunities' role in supporting and connecting each other via tweetchats changed to a more holistic and everpresent role through the pandemic, we now feel it is time to return to tweetchats and look to regroup, celebrate, and visibly share the value and opportunities to support our patients and each other via our celebration of mental health awareness month. 

With Who?

Most importantly YOU, especially if you are a tweeting mental health nurse, or student, we hope you'll bring your passion, knowledge, skills, and experience to the month by joining the tweetchats and sharing your #WWWinMHN videos. 

We are delighted to be sharing Mental Health Awareness Month across the WecCommunities nursing communities to ensure that the role, impact, and value of mental health nursing is visible and understood by and beyond our peers; so even if you aren't a mental health nurses do please join in.

We are also really pleased that the activities will be supported by some of the most experienced mental health nurses from NHS England who will be engaged in the tweetchats and Twitter activities throughout the month, some of which have shared their details with us below, all of which we recommend following on Twitter:

We are delighted and grateful to be sharing the day with the following colleagues and thank them for sharing the day with us:

Dr Emma Wadey PhD RN MH - Deputy Director Mental Health Nursing @NHSEngland
Tweeting as: @NursingEmma

Deputy Director Mental Health Nursing NHSE/I & Member of the Technical Advisory group on mental health impact of COVID-19 across the European region and European Mental Health Collaborative for the World Health Organisation.

Emma is a mental health nurse with over 25 years of experience across a wide range of health, emergency care and criminal justice settings. Maintaining clinical practice throughout her career has always been a priority and Emma continues to work as a consultant Nurse in a local Psychiatric liaison service. Passionate about the provision and transformation of effective and recovery based mental health services she has led the development of new and innovative services for the most vulnerable in our society. More recently she has been the clinical lead for the National Mental health, learning Disability and Autism COVID-19 response cell, providing expert clinical oversight during the pandemic.

Emma is leading the national program of work on reducing suicides in Nursing and Midwifery and is a member of the expert advisory group and Nurse representative on the design and implementation of an enhanced mental health and wellbeing offer for healthcare staff. Emma is committed to continual professional development and advanced practice and has developed clinical academic pathways for mental health nurses and contributed to the development of competency frameworks in advanced practice.

A keen interest in research, Emma is the chair for two NIHR funded research studies one focused on the impact of suicide on healthcare staff, and the other on the health and wellbeing od nurses. Her PhD on the experience of grief after suicide developed the triple process model of coping with grief after suicide recognising the impact of stigma in mourning.

Key to improving patient care is ensuring the mental health and wellbeing of Nurses, with this in mind she has worked with the National Midwifery team building on the success of the Professional Midwifery Advocate program to develop a Professional Nurse Advocate program. By the end of March 2022, over 5000 nurses across all fields of practice and in al healthcare, settings will have been trained.

Ms Caroline Attard - Clinical nurse fellow  @NHSEngland
Tweeting as: @Attard5Attard

Caroline has been a mental health nurse for over 23 years. Her career started in Malta her native country and expanded and developed in the UK for over 20 years. Her professional work includes working in different mental health settings including community mental health, crisis work and in-patient settings as a Nurse Consultant.

Caroline also worked at Oxford Brookes University and Thames Valley University teaching under and postgraduates in mental health and Psychosocial intervention. Caroline's area of expertise is improvement work she has an expansive portfolio of Quality improvement improvements in mental health and beyond using Quality improvement methodology including reducing prone restraint, restrictive practice, reducing self harm and reducing violence and aggression amongst many others. Her special are of interest is also Psych social interventions for psychosis. She also has a passion in coproduction improvement work with service users and families and have developed an emotional unstable personality disorder pathway in coproduction with service users. Caroline is also the co -author and editor of the “Oxford textbook of Inpatient Psychiatry”. More recently Caroline was the head of the Quality improvement programme part of a complete organisation lean transformation

Emma Perry RMN - Mental Health Advisor for International Nurse Recruitment  @NHSEngland
Tweeting as: @EmmaPerry2007

The profound impact that mental illness can have on a person and their families’ life drove Emma’s passion to study mental health nursing. Emma has been a registered mental health nurse for twenty years and has worked in a range of community and inpatient mental health services for adults, older adults, children and young people.

Emma’s passion for staff well-being and high-quality safe services led her to her current role as Mental Health Advisor for International Nurse Recruitment with NHS England. In this role she works collaboratively providing clinical subject matter expertise to support innovation, expansion and sustainability for the National Mental Health and Learning Disability International Nurse Recruitment programme; contributing to the UK Governments ambition to recruit 50,000 nurses to the NHS by 2024. Workstreams that are a particular focus are collation of best practice case studies, evaluation of innovation pilots for a Mental Health Transition Programme and the production of a National Mental Health Nursing International Recruitment video. Emma has also set up a Community of Practice for Learning Disability International Recruitment and Community of Practice for International Nurse Professional Nurse Advocates. In September Emma is commencing the Professional Nurse Advocate course with Anglia Ruskin University.


kathryn Currah. RSCN BSc NMP MSc - Clinical Nurse Fellow, Children and Young Peoples Mental Health Advisor @NHSEngland Professional Nurse Advocate Lead for Paediatrics and CYPMH.
Tweeting as: @kathryncurrah

Kathryn's initial nurse training from 1993-1996 was as a paediatric nurse, and she worked on a paediatric department in many roles, for 8 years before completing her public health degree in school nursing and working as a school nursing sister. Following this Kathryn became an ADHD specialist nurse which then led to me becoming a CAMHS clinician, then, moved into CYPS Mental Health in 2009 and worked as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, the team manager and more recently since 2016 an Associate Nurse Consultant. This was the first ever post in the trust in CYPS.

Kathryn became a Non-Medical Prescriber in 2008 and lead at trust level in the supervision and development of NMPs in CYPS, and has worked as an Associate Lecturer at Northumbria University on the NMP course.

IKathryn recently completed her Masters in Practice Development and has an article published in the Mental Health Practice Journal that promotes nurse development at Consultant level in CYPS.

Currently, Kathryn is working as a Children and Young People’s Mental Health Nurse Advisor for the National NHSEI nursing directorate and working on many workstreams including leading the Paediatric Professional Nurse Advocates, developing a national framework for paediatric staff to support children and young people with mental health distress in acute and emergency settings and development of a health care assistant training portfolio.

Victoria Charlesworth RMN - Nurse Consultant Prospect Park Hospital. Chair National Mental Health Nurse Consultant Forum. NHSE CNO Senior Nurse Fellow  @NHSEngland
Tweeting as: @viccharlesworth

Victoria Charlesworth has been a registered mental health nurse for over 20 years and has worked in a variety of settings including in-patient mental health, older adults, crisis care, substance misuse and criminal justice services. As a registered SCPHN I have also spent time working in public health roles including health visiting, young persons’ sexual health and children’s safeguarding. Prior to commencing the clinical fellow scheme, she was a nurse consultant working in in-patient mental health services and was also chair of the NHSE/ HEE National Mental Health Nurse Consultant Forum.

As a CNO fellow, her work is focused on the delivery of the professional nurse educator pilot across 13 NHS Trusts in England. Victoria is passionate about supporting, retaining and developing the mental health nursing workforce, and delivery of this project will enable this to happen in practice.

Victoria is proud and excited to be a CNO Senior Clinical Nurse Fellow as the scheme is helping me to develop my leadership skills and strategic thinking. This will enable her to support the wider mental health nursing workforce to develop, innovate and influence at all levels of the health system.’