By Leann Muir

Leeann Muir is second year mental health nurse in Edinburgh Napier University’s Bachelor Nursing programme. Leeann has always dreamed to be part of the National Health Service and to work in mental health. 

I am Leeann, I am a second-year mental health student nurse studying at Edinburgh Napier University. I really enjoy my course and placements. Studying nursing has given myself so much purpose and so much determination to make my mark in the mental health world.  

When I tell people, I am studying mental health nursing a common response is “that’s not real nursing!” To which I would respond with: “what is real nursing?” Injections, personal care, medication rounds, wound assessments and so forth. Is this real nursing? Yes, this is a part of nursing no matter what area. Mental health nursing is not black and white, and we need to think about the other colour that surrounds mental health nursing: the grey matter. We do not always have X-ray machines, scans, blood tests to determine a diagnosis. Mental health is about face to face interventions, assessment screening tools, measuring risks and outcomes. Every type of nursing matters and is real nursing regardless of the area. Mental health nursing in my opinion is sitting comforting someone that has psychosis that doesn’t understand how to cope and is scared.  Or mental health nursing is working with individuals who have dementia and don’t understand what is going on, where they are and why are they not at home.  The mark that I want to make on mental health nursing is seeing and hearing people going to their GP and hospital for mental health as easy as it is going with a physical illness. There is far too much stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health and I wonder why is this still happening? Too often people say “mental health:  It’s all in your head!” or “stop being lazy! “or “you’re attention seeking, you look fine?” To which I would respond with: “what does mental health look like? “ Mental health matters and is as important as physical health and is part of health and wellbeing. Everyone matters. 

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