We announced it on twitter, but here is a short post about our book.
In September this year, PCCS published a book compiled by three of us, Pete Bull, Stephen Williams and Jonathan Gadsby. It has been described as a ‘first’: a critical book about mental health nursing, written largely by mental health nurses. It is called Critical Mental Health Nursing: Observations from the Inside.
The book compiles the original work of a number of mental health nurses, providing a critique of their own profession and its context. As is fitting, some authors are also survivors of mental health services in different ways. If you are interested in the writing on this website, then this book may be exactly what you are looking for.
It begins with an apology from the editors – a four page letter from the three editors addressed to ‘you, the recipient or carer for a recipient of mental health nursing care in the UK, for the many historical and present ways in which mental health nurses have contributed to your distress and disempowerment. We dedicate ourselves to your future.’
We knew when we wrote it that the apology (which is explained and explored much further) would be appreciated and infuriate in equal measure (and it seems that we were right!). We hope that the book, while pulling no punches, is useful, thought-provoking and even perhaps points to a different future for mental health nurses. To the extent it is a sad book, we hope that mental health nurses and recipients of mental health services will find a catharsis and identification in the difficulties it describes. We are proud of all the authors who contributed, and were delighted that it was reviewed by the inspirational critical mental health nurse Harry Gijbels, one of the key organisers of the Critical Voices Ireland annual conference in Cork, Rep. of Ireland):
A timely and much-needed publication, the first of its kind I believe in which the central argument is put forward that mental health nursing should subject itself to its own critical scrutiny. Likely to frustrate, startle, provoke anger, confront, unsettle and challenge the reader… and, I hope, lead ultimately to real and lasting change.
The book is available to buy through PCCS-Books website, link below. We really recommend that you have a browse of their catalogue! The ‘straight-talking introduction’ series comes especially highly recommended and PCCS is also the home of Asylum Magazine – do check that out, too: