Mental Health Nursing

Mental Health Nursing - A Community Approach

Mental Health Nursing - A Community Approach

Mental illness has no boundaries and does not discriminate!

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (2002) 20% all Canadians will at some point in their lifetime become personally affected by a mental illness. ( Mental health nurses who work within the community need to recognize the role they can play in developing health promotion for the mentally ill client, as well as recognize the benefits community based organizations, such as the Assertive Community Treatment team (ACT) have to offer their clients. Mental health nurses within the community should also be aware of the advantage that early psychosis intervention has on the individual suffering from certain mental illnesses. (Meghan)

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What is a community mental health nurse?

Mental health nurses who practice in the community have a complex role as holistic care becomes more prominent due to research and education advances in the 21st century. “The advanced practice psychiatric-mental health nurse will be clinically managing patients with persistent neurological disorders, conducting intensive day treatment programs, developing community service programs, providing group and individual psychotherapy in private practices and providing consultation services” Sargent & Trollinger (1996). Society is diverse as are the needs of mental health patients living within the community; the need for support and community services has evolved to ensure optimum patient care while living in the community. (Terri Lem-Cadeau)

Community Service Out reach programs

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association out of every five Canadians one has dealt with a mental illness at some point in their lives. Mental illness has many forms some examples are as follows; mood, anxiety, eating, and attention deficit disorders along with schizophrenia, bipolar and substance abuse. The community of Barrie offers multiple outreach and community based programs that assist the mentally ill and their families cope. Assertive community treatment team (ACT), offers intensive support, rehabilitation and treatment focusing on the individual’s personal recovery goals. The team is composed of a multidisciplinary group of professionals that includes; Psychiatrists, Registered Nurses, a Social Worker, Case Managers, a Peer Specialist, and a Addictions Specialist. (Renata)

Early psychosis intervention and the role of the nurse

Psychosis can be extremely terrifying and a great source of anxiety for the individual and family. Symptoms can include delusions, hallucination, disorganized thoughts, rapid speech and catatonic behavior. Psychotic episodes can happen immediate or over time. Symptoms affect both male and females 14-35 years of age, although males are often diagnosed earlier than females as noted by the Canadian Mental Health Association (2002). Monet Taylor (1990) recognizes that early psychosis intervention utilizes the skills of the mental health nurse as a member of the Multidisciplinary Team. The team focuses on the holistic approach of the individual and family within the community. The ability of the nurse focuses on effective communication skills - both verbal and non-verbal during counseling with both the family and the individual. The nurse also monitors treatment of anti-psychotic medication and compliance within the community. (Cindy)

Nursing Times -

    How nurses bring mental health awareness to the community

    Roles of the mental nurse in the community involve mental health awareness, and teaching. It is ideal for the nurse to educate the community about mental issues, because "public health nurses have frequent contact with families and the focus of their practice is on health promotion and disease prevention" (Billay and Strass, 2008). Community mental health nurses are able to promote the overall health and well being of the patient, and assess the needs of them. Teaching on issues related to nutrition, addictions, violence, and financial support are only samples of the topics which a nurse may educate the community on. Education and awareness to the patients is beneficial in order to a maintain a healthy community . (Lindsay)


      Billay,E. & Strass, P. (2008). A Public Health Nursing Initiative to Promote Antenatal Health. The Canadian Nurse, 104(2), 29-33 Retrieved from

      Government of Ontario, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Health Care Services Policy and Procedures Manual. (1999). Standards of Nursing Practice:
      Clinical Services Team.
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      Monet Taylor, C. (1990). Essentials of Psychiatric Nursing. Toronto: Mosby.

      Sargent & Trollinger, J. (1996). Psychiatric nursing in the 21st Century: is our mission complete? Tar Heel Nurse, 58(5),26-27 ISSN: 0039-9620 CINAHL AN: 1997044335, Retrieved from