Mental Health: A Person-Centered Approach

Nursing students from around the world are set to benefit from a definitive new textbook launched in April, Mental Health a Person Centred Approach. Mental Health Nursing education is really having arrived. Being picked up and taken notice of by the world’s oldest publishing house. So at that level I think it means that we have arrived at a level that we had never previously been engaged at. The book was written and edited by UniSA’s Professor Nicholas Procter, Chair in Mental Health Nursing. It also includes major contributions from collegues Dr. Helen Hamer Denise McGarry, Ronda Wilson and Dr Terry Froggatt. So each chapter had up to five reviewers which I think is an outstanding level of scrutiny for a publication of this kind. Well Nicholas Procter asked me if I’d write the foreword from a Carers viewpoint and I was very nervous about the whole idea but when he said that it was people centred and that it was going to be about stories of people, I felt as though I’d really like to give it a try. The text book has been written to teach Nursing students a person centred approach to dealing with patients with Mental Health conditions. Person centredness is about personhood being privileged above anything else. So in other words when people tell their story they tell the story of who they are and what they stand for but they also tell the back story of how things got to this. The authors of each chapter have introduced Consumer Cares or Mental Health Consumers to provide their very personal stories of their experience in dealing with Mental Health illness. I do have a story to tell and it is a story of my son, my son Nicholas. And Nicholas died when he was 26 years old and after he’d gone all that remained was the memory of his love and his story and I knew that he’d enjoyed being a student himself and that he wouldn’t mind me sharing his story with other students and I felt if I could do it honestly it might be something that they might be able to relate to when they read it and it might become almost a conversation that he might have had with them if things had have been different It is the first time in it’s history that the world’s oldest University publishing house Cambridge University has published a textbook in this field. We have published in the area of Psychiatry but never for never for mental health for nurses. We felt that it complimented our growing list in the area of nursing on a global scale because of our experience in medical publishing but also locally we are rapidly building a list in nursing textbooks. Mental health was an obvious choice for us. It is a very important subject with a Nursing Degree program. This is first one they have done on Mental Health Nursing ever and when you consider they are five hundred years old it is pretty important. They have a whole section that deals with Mental Health but nothing on Mental Health Nursing so for UniSA to be the first trail blazer in this space it is something that is so relevant to so many people. I think it is a pretty big achievement for the University.

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