Mental Health Awareness Week offers the opportunity to pause and take notice of the profound contribution Mental Health Nurses are making to the Covid-19 response. At the Florence Nightingale Foundation, we are listening to our Mental Health Nursing alumni community to understand the creative and innovative ways they are adapting their practice to ensure they are able to engage with people who are using their services during the pandemic. Their commitment and dedication is significant but not necessarily valued or acknowledge in the popular media or amongst the politicians. Many Mental Health Nurses believe the influence of the pandemic on mental health has yet to reach its peak and they are concerned that the parity of esteem with physical health services will not be materialised when their services and society need it most.

At the Florence Nightingale Foundation, we are committed to fuelling the potential of nursing and midwifery. We are thrilled to offer a leadership programme in collaboration with Health Education England specifically for both Mental Health Nurses and Nursing Associates working in mental health settings. The programme will aim to develop their presence, influence and impact but also offer a platform for them to contribute to National agendas which will be enhanced by their voice and their experience.  We will open for applications in June.

Mental health awareness week has a focus on kindness and looking out for each other. As a gesture of kindness please encourage mental health nurses and nursing associates to apply to this programme, to invest in themselves and peruse an opportunity for their voice to have impact.

By Dr Gemma Stacey (PhD MN RN (Mental Health) PGCHE PFHEA)

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