Mental Health Nurses Leading Advocacy and Activism: Using a Historical Perspectives to Understand Mental Health Nursing and to Lead Change

by Michelle Danda, MN MPN RN CPMHN(C)

Globally psychiatric and mental health nurses have been struggling with a changing health care landscape in which large mental health institutions that once provided care for people diagnosed with mental illness are closing with the intention of community-based services and programs assuming care. The notion of mental illness is changing, with increased public motivation to destigmatize mental health issues like psychosis, depression, suicide, and addiction. A spotlight has been turned on the value of mental health professionals to provide care for people in crisis because of highly publicized atrocities like violence by police towards people of colour in mental health crisis, mental distress resulting from Covid-19 and the opiate poisoning crisis.