Why we need to hear maverick voices more in mental health nursing

In the 2019 Skellern Lecture, Mick McKeown argues for better services and a better world
Speak out

Mick McKeown uses the 2019 Skellern Lecture to argue why nurses need to harness their ability to think critically

I am pleased to have been chosen to give this year’s Skellern Lecture, which annually celebrates advances in the field of mental health and mental health nursing. Eileen Skellern was a pioneering figure in mental health nursing, and her interest in democratic care has inspired some of the main themes in my talk.

We have lived through the most extreme period of economic depression since the 1920s (International Labour Organisation and International Monetary Fund 2010, Varoufakis et al 2012). Driven by neoliberal ideology, western governments have attempted to solve this crisis of capitalism with austerity measures, piling adversity onto the poorest and consolidating the wealth of a powerful few, while failing miserably to rescue the economy.

‘The system lumbers on, in a


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