How To Become A Mental Health Nurse


Here at HCL we aimed to remind people that although too often overlooked and under-supported, the NHS are vastly improving it’s mental health services. By continuing to promote the idea that it is a concept that we should be supporting all year round.

With nearly half of all adults believing to be diagnosed with a mental health issue in their lifetime, it’s clear that the issues we face need to be addressed with more awareness as well as the astonishing work and help of mental health professionals.

If you see yourself as a caring, patient and trustworthy individual who is also interested in health and wellbeing, then a career in mental health nursing could be for you. Not only will you need to be a people person, but excellent communication skills are also required with the additional ability to adapt to all sorts of situations on a day to day basis. A mental health nurse also has to be sympathetic and non-judgmental towards their patients in order to gain their trust and manage emotional situations.

What Is A Mental Health Nurse?

Unlike other health professionals, mental health nurses care for people specifically with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Their main aim is to build good relationships with their patients and families in order to gain their trust and help everyone who is involved in the treatment process.

Although their daily duties may vary from day to day, their main targets involve providing physical care to patients who are too old or too ill to look after themselves, give the appropriate and desired medication, encourage patients to take part in a variety of therapy treatments and overall, support their needs through listening and general assessing.


Why Choose Mental Health Nursing? 

Like any other job, mental health nursing has its challenges but it also can be very rewarding, the most important thing to remember is not to be afraid and to have patience. Although an unpredictable career, it can benefit you in the long run and make you appreciate the impact that a strong community can make on someone’s life. You’ve also got to be passionate and have a real urge to listen and learn from those around you in order to succeed.


What Qualifications Do You Need?

To work as a mental health nurse, you will need to complete a degree in nursing approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. You will also need to pass additional occupational health checks and register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as well as take part in an enhanced background check to ensure you are the right person for the job.


Skills Required

  • Interpersonal skills
  • The ability to stay calm in difficult situations
  • Excellent observation skills
  • Excellent communication and listening skills
  • The ability to gain the trust of your co workers as well as your patients


Working Hours, Patterns and Environment

Working in the health sector, you’ll usually work 37.5 hours a week but this may vary depending on your level. This could also include evenings, weekends, night shifts and bank holidays.

Typically, you’ll work in a hospital on a ward or most likely in a specialist unit or outpatients unit. Most jobs will be found within the NHS but you could also work in the private sector, a community health centre, prison or a patient’s home.

As a mental health nurse, you will world with a variety of people and patients as well as support workers, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and health visitors. If you are assigned closely with a particular patient then you may also have to deal with social workers, the police, relevant charities or even the government. When it comes to mental health, could could be dealing with a vast array of patients who suffer from anxiety, depression, personality or eating disorders or perhaps drug and alcohol addiction. Whatever the case, it’s important to remember to keep aware and always be prepared for new challenges.


Where To Find Out More

More information on mental health or to take a look at what jobs are out there, visit out latest jobs page to find out how you can get involved and make a difference.