Psychiatric and mental health nursing

Psychiatric nursing or mental health nursing is the appointed position of a nurse that specialises in mental health, and cares for people of all ages experiencing mental illnesses or distress. These include: neurodevelopmental disorders, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, mood disorders, addiction, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, psychosis, paranoia, and self-harm.

Nurses in this area receive specific training in psychological therapies, building a therapeutic alliance, dealing with challenging behaviour, and the administration of psychiatric medication.

In most countries, after the 1990s,a psychiatric nurse would have to attain a bachelor's degree in nursing to become a Registered Nurse (RN), and specialise in mental health. Degrees vary in different countries, and are governed by country-specific regulations. In the United States one can become a RN, and a psychiatric nurse, by completing either a diploma program, an associates (ASN) degree, or a bachelors (BSN) degree.Up until the 1990s 5 GCSEs/O levels were sufficient and no degree or other nursing qualifications required.

Mental health nurses can work in a variety of services, including: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Acute Medical Units (AMUs), Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs), and Community Mental Health Services (CMHS).