Launch of the ‘Critical Mental Health Nurses Network’

The 9th April 2015 marked the launch of the Critical Mental Health Nurses Network in Durham, UK. The network marked its launch with a web presence, a new website http://www.criticalmhnursing.org/.

The network has aspirations to become a major resource for mental health nursing internationally and to act as a source of inspiration and solidarity for critical mental health nurses everywhere. The IIMHN supports them in their attempts to raise profile of ‘critical voices’ in approaches to mental health care. They hope you will subscribe to their blog, bookmark the hashtag #critMHN, and familiarise yourself with the discussions. They offer and interesting standpoint

“…being ‘critical’ is best thought of as more of process, a commitment to questions. It is a decision to prefer dialogue than to settle for a monologue. It follows that if every contribution agreed with the last, and if every reader liked everything written, then this could not really be said to be a critical network. Dissent is most definitely allowed.  We thought long and hard about the word critical. A bit negative, some said.

In Transactional Analysis there are two types of parent: critical and nurturing. Wouldn’t we rather ‘nurture’ better nursing into existence, rather than pick holes in what we have? Well, maybe we would. We had some great conversations at the Durham conference, lots of enthusiasm and lots of positive ideas, and agreement too. However, a few people gave us the feedback that they came into nursing to be caring and don’t want to feel ‘got at’. We feel this feedback is very welcome, and expresses a legitimate fear. It is bad enough trying to persuade our managers (or, indeed, the newspapers) that not everything that happens is someone’s fault, without turning on each other! However, whatever the intentions of individual nurses, there exist many reasons to be critical. We are not proud of everything that happens under the name of mental health nursing, and there may be a need to explore those difficult issues head on, to hear from those who feel that being a nurse, and being nursed, has not been what it should have been. If we choose only to ‘focus on positive change’ we may be sweeping those experiences under the carpet. Those experiences and the confusing moments where concepts collide can teach us a lot, difficult though it may be. And nursing itself is only part of our focus: we want to consider the expectations placed on nurses in a critical way, too. Those who are attracted to this network because of their critical thoughts about psychiatry may find like-minded people here. But we are not the Critical Psychiatry Network – that already exists.”