Helen Rees

Suicide among nurses: how we can reduce risk and stigma by simply talking

Ways to support colleagues through open, honest discussions

How you can support call for vulnerable service users to get priority influenza jab

Campaign group wants people with serious mental illness to be a vaccination priority group

Mental health assessment

Identifying people with deteriorating mental health using a mental state assessment

Read this article to understand the role of a mental state assessment


Assessing and managing communication needs in people with serious mental illness

Why you should read this article: » To understand the potential effects of various types of communication difficulties on people with serious mental illness (SMI) » To assist in assessing and managing the communication needs of people with SMI, and in making appropriate referrals to speech and language therapy services » To count towards revalidation as part of your 35 hours of CPD, or you may wish to write a reflective account (UK readers) » To contribute towards your professional development and local registration renewal requirements (non-UK readers) Effective communication is essential to maintain mental health and resilience. Communication can be challenging for people who experience serious mental illness (SMI), which can be a barrier to social, employment and educational opportunities, as well as increasing their risk of experiencing abuse. Therefore, it is important that nurses who work with individuals experiencing SMI understand the assessment and management of specific communication, speech and language needs. This article focuses on five areas of communication, speech and language – receptive language, expressive language, speech, social communication and swallowing – to increase nurses’ confidence in assessing communication needs and making appropriate referrals to speech and language therapy services. The authors also suggest therapeutic interventions that nurses can use to reduce the effects of speech and language difficulties among people with SMI.

Serious mental health issues

Reducing health inequalities for people with serious mental illness

People with serious mental illness (SMI) are at risk of dying many years earlier than the general population. Providing an effective, cost-efficient healthcare service requires a holistic approach, and improving the physical health of people with SMI should be integral to all healthcare roles. It is important for nurses to identify and understand the barriers that people with SMI may experience when accessing physical healthcare. A range of factors contribute to reduced life expectancy, including lifestyle factors, symptoms of mental illness and the side effects of medications. This article discusses four areas of health that commonly affect people with SMI: metabolic syndrome, smoking, oral health and sexual health. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that increase an individual’s risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Smoking is increasingly prevalent in people with SMI, with rates remaining steady despite a decline in smoking rates nationally. Oral health and sexual health can negatively affect the physical health and well-being of people with SMI; however, these aspects of health are often neglected. This article identifies ways that nurses in all practice settings can use health promotion, assessment and treatment to improve the physical health of people with SMI in relation to these four areas.

Letter: To the latest cohort of nursing students, remember 6Cs

Congratulations to students about to embark on nursing degrees, your journey into nursing is beginning.