Aims of the Group

Mental Health Nursing has a long and proud tradition having made significant contributions to improving the care of mental health service users and their carers over the last two centuries. In an ever changing landscape, Mental Health Nurses (MHNs) still make up the largest professionally qualified group of the mental health workforce in the UK today, working in increasingly diverse practice contexts and innovative, specialist roles.

Whatever changes occur in the profession – and we seem to be constantly in the midst of change – the driving force must always be a fundamental desire to enhance the experiences of service users and their carers through partnership. Users and carers must be equal partners in all aspects of care and service delivery and it is essential that they are involved collaboratively in MHN education and research.

MHN education and research are central to ensuring that MHNs are equipped with appropriate values, knowledge and skills so that they can draw on the best available evidence to deliver high quality, co-produced, user- and carer-centred care. Increasingly, mental health practice, education and research agenda is multi-disciplinary and multi-agency and it is vital that MHNs fully engage with this agenda, not out of professional self-interest, but in order to advance education, policy and practice that best meets the needs of service users and carers.

In order to promote such engagement and develop a strong voice from MHNs working in Higher Education, MHNAUK was established in 2003.

The specific aims of the group are:

  1. To represent and promote mental health nursing policy and practice, education, and research including by actively participating in key national and international committees and working groups.
  2. To influence and respond to the UK mental health agenda through well-informed debate, discussion and the dissemination of material that reflects the group’s views on a range of issues.
  3. To act as a source of consultation and advice to mental health nurses and others on mental health nursing policy and practice, education, and research.
  4. To share good practice and innovations in the development and conduct of mental health nursing policy and practice, education, and research.
  5. To encourage and facilitate research into mental health nursing.
  6. To organise on an annual basis the International Mental Health Nursing Research Conference, with support as appropriate from partner organisations.

Terms of Reference and Welcome Letter

Meetings are held three times a year at various venues across the UK hosted by member HEIs. The group has produced a number of position papers and responses to consultations and is represented on a wide range of relevant national policy, education and research steering groups.

The current Terms of Reference for the group were introduced and discussed at the MHNAUK meeting held at Unite the Union in Glasgow on 11 October 2019, and were then discussed further via the group’s email list. They can be adobe_pdf_file_icon_24x24 downloaded here.

A Welcome Letter for members and associate members, which includes information on the use of the closed MHNAUK email discussion list, was  presented at the MHNAUK meeting held online on 16 October 2020. This can be adobe_pdf_file_icon_24x24 downloaded here.

Past Chairs of the Group

2003: Professor Len Bowers and Dr Julie Repper (original convenors)
2004-05: Professor Patrick Callaghan (University of Nottingham)
2006-08: Professor John Playle (University of Manchester)
2009-10: Linda Cooper (Cardiff University)
2011-12: Professor Alan Simpson (City University)
2013-14: Dr Michael Coffey (Swansea University)
2015-16: Professor Joy Duxbury (UCLan)
2017-18: Professor Steven Pryjmachuk (University of Manchester)
2019-20: Professor Ben Hannigan (Cardiff University)