2021 Skellern

Dear colleagues, The 2021 Skellern has been rescheduled for the 9th June 2022, likely to be at the Cassel Hospital, London. More details to follow. Hope your all well and looking forward to some holiday time over the summer. Best wishes Fiona and Jim

RCN Library – Doctoral Theses Repository

Dear Colleagues,

Please see below the developments on creating a MH Nursing PhD repository from Stephen Jones at the RCN. This is a joint piece of work between the RCN and MHNAUK, aiming to be launched at this year’s MHNR Conference.

Stephen met with the librarian last week and we have been given the green light to start gathering information on doctoral theses. The list will have two key purposes:

  1. Showcase doctoral-level theses undertaken by mental health nurses (electronic version of the Steinburg collection);
  2. Encourage others to be inspired to advance their careers through clinical academic pathways (further resources to be populated into new tab on the MH page: here).

For easy access see a brief survey to capture the needed information (link below): https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=x_9cC9sg2UmrxkJh0UWeJpMa1NLEGXxFlGCCNVmjR2JUN0NTOVVJRzdDQ0JCWElSSlE3RTJGNVgzQi4u.

This is an exciting development and am sure that will be a fabulous development.

Best wishes

Fiona and Jim

Recent journal contributions from MHNAUK

Dear colleagues,

The Journal of Mental Health this week published this article outlining proposed shared goals for mental health research:


A number of us from the MHNAUK research team submitted a short commentary (subject to tight word limit) from MHNAUK, which is here:

Mental Health Nurse Academics can help attain goals for mental health research and influence policy


Other commentaries are also published.

Best wishes,


Alan Simpson | Professor of Mental Health Nursing 


RCN Foundation Grants 2021 now open

Dear Colleague

The RCN Foundations spring round of Education Grants is now open. We would be grateful if you could share this with your networks and colleagues.

The RCN Foundation has opened its spring round of education and career development grants. These grants aim to support those involved in nursing and midwifery to develop their careers and improve the care they give to patients. Grants can be used to undertake undergraduate degrees, postgraduate qualifications and professional training. 

The RCN Foundation is an independent charity, and nursing and midwifery staff do not have to be an RCN member to receive their support. The education grants are for up to £5,000 and open to nurses, nursing associates, midwives and health care support workers who will begin their study between 01 September 2021 and 01 September 2022. Applications close on 31 May 2021. Further information is available on the RCN Foundation website Spring Grants Round Now Open | Royal College of Nursing (rcn.org.uk)

The RCN Foundation Education Grants are available online at https://rcnfoundation.rcn.org.uk/apply-for-funding/educational-grants/rcn-foundation-professional-bursary-scheme

Many thanks for your support with this



Sarah McGloin PhD; RN; SFHEA | Head of Grants and Impact| RCN Foundation

Room 215 | 20 Cavendish Square | London | W1G 0RN

Tel: 0207 647 3708| sarah.mcgloin@rcn.org.uk


JPMHN 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award

The lifetime achievement award recipient for 2021 is Kevin Gournay. Many of you will know Kevin and his work which has made a substantial and sustained contribution to mental health nursing. To refresh you of Kevin’s contribution…

Professor Kevin Gournay, CBE RN PhD CPsychol CSci FRCN FMedSci FRSM AFBPsS Cert CBT. Emeritus Professor of Psychiatric Nursing, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience: King’s College: London. Honorary Professor: Faculty of Medicine and Health: University of Sydney

Kevin Gournay’s career has spanned more than 50 years. He trained as a nurse in Learning Disabilities and Mental Health and subsequently as a nurse therapist at the Maudsley Hospital in 1978. He has been a constant presence in mental health nursing in thsimtime, leading practice as well as practising. He has worked as  a Nurse Therapist in the NHS, completed his Masters, PhD and post-doctoral education (all part time). He won a grant to conduct (with the late Julia Brooking) an RCT of CPN effectiveness and an epidemiological study of body dysmorphic disorder; this being followed by an RCT of treatment that led to the treatment model used today. He has integrated many skills, for example using his CBT skills in palliative care settings and with women who had experienced stillbirth, or perinatal death (this following personal experience).  He has was involved in the setting up of 2 national charities (one for cancer care, one for anxiety).

In 1992 he became a Professor of Mental Health at Middlesex University and in 1995  was appointed as the first Professor of Psychiatric Nursing at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London; a post he held until 2006. During his time there, he served for 2 years as Chair of Institute’s Academic Board, won funding for MRC doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships, a number of research studies, developed innovative training in dual diagnosis and medication management and had an oversight role of several other training programmes.

He was involved in national policy development in prison mental health, high secure settings and specialist personality disorder services. He also served as a specialist advisor to the UK joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, as well as providing advice to ministers and the CNO. He worked on a trans-European practice development project (funded by the EC in 14 countries) that focussed on the empowerment of service users. Kevin also worked as a consultant to WHO on international development projects in Russia and other countries and until 2013, on a project in Palestine, aimed at developing mental health services in the West Bank and Gaza. 

Since retiring from his post in 2006, Kevin has continued to work in clinical settings in a tertiary service for people with OCD and complex PTSD (recently much of his work has involved Military personnel). He has also continued his collaboration with colleagues in Australia, including assisting with the setting up of a Centre for Comorbidity (originally at the University of New South Wales and now at the University of Sydney) where he holds a Professorial position. Kevin spends several weeks each year in Australia and is a co-author on the National Guidance on comorbidity, funded by the Federal Government, with a 3rd edition to be published in late 2021. He has extensive experience of presenting mental health issues in print, radio and television media and has served as a member of numerous editorial boards. He is the author or co-editor of 17 books and monographs (including one book published in the Welsh language), 56 chapters in books, 16 reports and literature reviews, 120 articles in peer reviewed journals and numerous articles in magazines, including book reviews and comment pieces. He continues to serve as a reviewer for several funding bodies.

Kevin was appointed CBE in the New Year’s Honours in 1999 for his services to psychiatric nursing, research and education. He is Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing and holds a number of other fellowships, honorary fellowships and honorary degrees. In 2004, he was elected as Psychiatric Nurse of the Year by the American Psychiatric Nurses’ Association.  

2021 Skellern Lecture

This years Skellern lecture has been postponed and will now take place in June 2022. The event is likely to be held at the Cassel hospital, as was planned for 2021 but this will be confirmed closer to the time. Gary Winship, who was appointed as Skellern Lecturer in 2021, will retain this title in 2022.  

The Skellern lecture is a prestige annual event, often described as the Reith Lecture for Mental Health Nurses.   It was established in 1980 in order to remember the contribution of Eileen Skellern who was an influential figure in shaping the modern profession of MHN nursing in the UK.  Previous Skellern lecturers have included esteemed colleagues like Professor Annie Altschul, Baroness Caroline Cox among others, and there have also been two previous University of Nottingham laureates, Julie Repper (2006) and Patrick Callaghan (2011).  In 2021 Gary was one of 4 shortlisted candidates who submitted lecture proposals to the panel.  The panel consists of senior academic colleagues, former Skellern lecturers, Wiley/Blackwell Lifetime Award recipients, representatives from NHS MH Trusts, Mental Health Nurse Academics UK and board members for the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing.  The panel includes people like Professor Tony Butterworth, and Professor Hugh Mckenna, and international colleagues including Professor Shirley Smoyak (USA), Professor Cheryl Forchuk (Canada). 

Gary commented “I am exceedingly honoured and humbled to be bestowed with this award. I would like to congratulate the other candidates on being shortlisted, Dr Celeste Foster (senior lecturer in adolescent mental health at the University of Salford), Dr Judith Graham (,Queens Nurse RNMH, Director for Psychological Professionals at Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust) and Dr Anthony O’Brien (Associate Professor, University of Waikato, NZ).  All of their proposed lecture synopses (which you can read the at www.skellern.info) would have merited appointment.  MHNs and allied front-line professionals are working under extreme duress, and my lecture will draw attention to those who are working in the eye of the COVID storm, saving lives and bearing witness”.

Thank you

As 2020 draws to a close, we in Mental Health Nurse Academics UK extend our thanks to health and social care practitioners everywhere who have gone above and beyond in this most difficult of years. We particularly recognise the contributions of registered and student nurses, many of whom have responded to calls to work in new and unfamilar settings in conditions of great uncertainty. Truly this has been the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, in ways that few of us might have imagined 12 months ago.

We wish a safe and peaceful new year to all, and look forward to a 2021 which improves on the year it leaves behind.

Deadline extended for nominations: Mental Health Nurse Academics UK Annual Lecture 2021

Nominations are now invited for people to deliver the Mental Health Nurse Academics UK Annual Lecture 2021.

The Lecture will be delivered by a mental health nurse working in, or out of, the UK. She or he will be the nurse who, from amongst those nominated and in the opinion of the MHNR committee, the Chair and the Vice Chair of MHNAUK:

  • has made the most significant contribution to the promotion and enhancement of mental health practice, nursing education, research and/or policy
  • whilst being at an early stage of her or his career, is emerging as someone whose contribution to mental health practice, nursing education, research and/or policy is likely to have a significant impact in the future.

Nominations are welcomed:

  • directly from individuals wishing to deliver the Lecture
  • from colleagues wishing to nominate an individual to deliver the Lecture.

Individuals nominating themselves, or accepting nominations from colleagues, are required to confirm their availability to deliver the Lecture on either of the two days on which the conference runs. The 2021 Lecturer may also be invited to take part in a pre-conference webinar, with other keynote speakers.

During their participation at the conference the MHNAUK Lecturer’s expenses will be covered, specifically including: a one day conference fee, one night’s accommodation and UK travel.

The deadline for receipt of nominations has been extended to Sunday 31st January 2021. Nominations should be submitted using this form and be sent by email to the chair of the conference committee [Professor Mick McKeown: MMckeown@uclan.ac.uk].

Nominees should also submit an abstract for their Lecture via the MHNR conference abstract submission portal, which is now open, selecting the option of ‘concurrent abstract’.

Members of the MHNR committee, and the Chair and Vice Chair of MHNAUK, are not permitted to nominate themselves to deliver the Lecture or to accept nominations from others. Nominations will be reviewed by the MHNR committee, the Chair and the Vice Chair of MHNAUK.

This is an opportunity for someone to deliver a prestigious keynote presentation at our annual conference, which will take place at the RCN Headquarters in London on 9th and 10th June 2021.

The decision on the 2021 Lecturer will be made by 15th February 2021, and all nominees will be informed of the outcome on or shortly after that date.

Abstracts from nominees not selected to deliver the Lecture will automatically be considered for concurrent presentation at the MHNR conference.

Dr James Turner elected as incoming Vice Chair

Following a call for nominations, we warmly welcome Dr James (Jim) Turner as incoming Vice Chair of MHNAUK for 2021-22 and then as Chair for 2023-24. Jim is Principal Lecturer and Professional Lead for Mental Health Nursing at Sheffield Hallam University, and throughout 2020 has been leading the MHNAUK Policy and Practice Standing Group.

Jim has worked in mental health nursing since the mid-1980s, holding roles in both hospital and community settings, and he continues to practise as a cognitive analytic therapist. As a teacher he is particularly interested in therapeutic interventions, and as a researcher he has completed projects on the use of metaphor, on end of life care and on men’s health.