Marking the 200 years which have passed since the birth of Florence Nightingale, the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. In this toolkit the WHO describes these two professions as ‘the cornerstone of the strong, resilient health systems needed to achieve universal health coverage’, and estimates a global nursing workforce of 22 million. That’s a big number, but according to the WHO is still nine million registrants short if sustainable development goals are to be met.
Many people within nursing are already using the WHO’s initiative to channel efforts to promote the profession, and to press the case for investment and expansion. This is excellent, but events to celebrate and advance nursing in the next 12 months must reflect the diversity of the profession, and do more than concentrate only on the (excellent) contributions made by physical health care nurses. Here in the UK we formally recognise four fields of nursing, of which mental health is one, but in the WHO’s toolkit referred to above there is no mention of nursing work in this area.
Mental health nurses can most definitely use 2020 to take, and make, opportunities to talk about what they do, and to say why this is important. Already-confirmed dates for mental health nurses to showcase their contributions include Mental Health Nurses’ Day on 21st February 2020, and a one-day International Mental Health Nursing Research Conference to take place on 11th June 2020 at Middlesex University. As always, for people wanting an accessible introduction to the work of mental health nurses, and on routes to degree-level preparation, this still-current post on the Mental Health Nurse Academics UK website remains as good a place to start as any.
Now that I have learned how to embed YouTube videos into this blog (it isn’t difficult, really) I can update this morning’s post by adding a clip of Welsh Government Minister for Health and Social Services Professor Mark Drakeford speaking, on the occasion of World Mental Health Day 2013, at the Senedd. My thanks to Hafal for using its twitter account to draw my (and everyone else’s) attention to this:
Today is World Mental Health Day. Here’s a snip from the WHO:
Every year on 10th of October, The World Health Organization joins in celebrating the World Mental Health Day. The day is celebrated at the initiative of the World Federation of Mental Health and WHO supports this initiative through raising awareness on mental health issues using its strong relationships with the Ministries of health and civil society organizations across the globe. WHO also develops technical and communication material and provides technical assistance to the countries for advocacy campaigns around the World Mental Health Day.
The theme of World Mental Health Day in 2013 is “Mental health and older adults”.
Here in Wales, the day is being marked by (amongst other things) the organisation Hafal bringing its latest campaign, Lights! Camera! ACTION!, to the Senedd in Cardiff. From Hafal’s website I see that this event will be attended by the Welsh Government Minister for Health and Social Services, Professor Mark Drakeford. I hope this all goes well, as I’m sure it will. Last month’s revelation that Asda, Tesco and Amazon were selling ‘mental patient fancy dress costumes’ reminds us (as if it were needed) of the progress still to be made to improve public understanding of mental health issues and to tackle stigma and discrimination.
For a general overview of mental health priorities and challenges around the world, here’s a five minute video produced by the World Health Organization: