There is no doubt about it: the internet is an astonishing tool. The choice we made not to describe this network as being for the UK was based on a hope that nurses from other places might find some resonance with our objectives and contribute their perspectives to our conversations. Who knows? Maybe they would hear about us one day…
… Since the launch of this website in mid-April we have had hundreds of visitors, now regularly more than 100 separate individuals per day. This seems quite remarkable considering that there is so little content here yet (but it is coming!). All the more remarkable is the number of countries from which we have had visits, which is another statistic we can track. Currently you have viewed this website from:
The UK, the USA, Germany, Australia, Netherlands, Iceland, Poland, France, Ireland, Greece, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Philippines, Spain, Malaysia, Sweden, Chile, Belgium, Argentina, New Zealand, Mexico, Egypt, Gibraltar, Turkey, and several times from ‘The European Union’.
It is a bit too early to know what this flurry of interest represents. We hope that it somehow fits with our own view that this network is something that many people have wanted for a long time. Some of these hits have been driven by Facebook, some by Twitter, some less clearly from anywhere. One or two might not have been quite what they seem, because we have received a couple (but only a couple) of spam emails/comments which were clearly not written by nurses or by people for whom English is very familiar.
We really welcome (and are amazed) by this development. We hope that many visitors to this website will ‘contact us’ to let us know who you are, where you are and what the idea of critical mental health nursing might mean for you, in your context, in your country. Who is thinking critically about mental health nursing where you are? We hope that these connections will lead to new support and new understandings – what else is a network for?
In other news: we have also had interest from nurses working as teachers in several universities and have hopes that we can work together on projects about mental health nurse training. We hope to launch a section of this website especially aimed at nursing students and teachers. This means we really want to hear from you if you teach nursing, or are a student becoming interested in new and critical ideas. At our Durham conference, there were several mental health nursing students, and they expressed the wish that they could have a resource for accessible information about ways of thinking which are outside of the mainstream of mental health services, particularly outside of what they see as very bio-medically dominated thinking.
We are also very excited to be organising some visits, probably in August, to a new initiative in the UK, with the aim to learn more about it, generate some thought-provoking material for this website and to link up like-minded individuals. It is a collaboration between prominent members of the Hearing Voices Network and Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. This includes widespread training of staff by the Hearing Voices Network and, we understand, some wards designated as ‘force-free’. Naturally, we have a huge number of questions about the ethos and the practicalities of this project, and we hope to be able to report more in due course. We heard from Peter Bullimore about the project at our Durham conference. It has been masterminded by Peter and by Steve Trenchard, the chief executive of that trust (who is a mental health nurse), and many nurses at the conference wanted to know more.
We also plan to report on a piece of research being undertaken in Birmingham about taking critical ideas about mental health nursing from university to post-registration nursing, looking at the lived experience of a number of recently qualified mental health nurses. The research is currently in the ethics-approval stage.
So, once again, do not hesitate to be in touch – we want to hear from you.