Raiders of the Lost Art: A Review of Published Evaluations of Inpatient Mental Health Care Experiences Emanating from the United Kingdom, Portugal, Canada, Switzerland, Germany and Australia

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Forming interpersonal therapeutic relationships with mental health Service Users remains a key aspect of the practice of Psychiatric/Mental Health nurses. Given the omnipresence of the concept within the relevant literature the reader could be forgiven for asking: why would Psychiatric/Mental Health nurses opine about something so basic, so ubiquitous and so central to the theory and practice of our discipline? While the authors could locate no substantive argument that refutes the role or value of such relationships, a sizable, growing and reasonably consistent body of work has emerged, which appears to indicate that this centrality and value is not necessarily reflected in many clinical practice settings. Accordingly, we draw on the published evaluations of mental health care emanating from the United Kingdom, Portugal, Canada, Switzerland, Germany and Australia, compare these findings and highlight similarities or/and congruence and discuss a range of issues arising out of the findings. Alas, the findings seem to depict a mental health care inpatient experience that is often devoid of warm therapeutic relationships, respectful interactions, information or choice about treatment and any kind of formal/informal ‘talk therapy’. Instead such care experiences are personified by: coercion, disinterest, inhumane practices, custodial and controlling practitioners and a gross over use of pharmacological ‘treatments’.


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