Academic journal article Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession

Introducing Mental Health Nursing: A Consumer-Oriented Approach

Academic journal article Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession

Introducing Mental Health Nursing: A Consumer-Oriented Approach

Article excerpt

Introducing mental health nursing: A consumer-oriented approach Happell B, Cowin L, Roper C, Foster K and McMaster R (2008) Allen and Unwin, NSW; PB; xi + 397 pp; AUD 59.95; ISBN 978-1-741140-50-7

At last there is an Australian text for undergraduates in mental health nursing that forays into the territory of mental health rather than traces around the tenuous map of psychiatric diagnoses. Its very title bodes such a foray: a consumer-oriented approach, which is backed up with one of the authors identifying herself as a 'consumer academic'. Surely this is the stuff of a real introduction to the other in mental health: to see the person and not the constructed wound.

The text is divided into fi ve parts. Each part is contextualised for the shape-changing nature of mental health, with gentle enough coaxes into critical thinking and even a discussion on the language of mental health. Conceptual frameworks are discussed but for mine not near enough. Brenda Happell at the recent Australian Congress of Mental Health Nursing conference in Melbourne gave a passionate address on the need to construct a vision that she thought was bedevilled by two eras: one, the era of the bureaucrat (given HoNOS is both construct invalid and unreliable and most KPIs circulatory in nature); two, the era of the brain (with its false determinism of neuroreceptor 'x' = mental illness 'y' with its equally false hope of medication x = life y). …

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