Mental Health

Nurses have a vital role in the promotion of mental well-being, the prevention of mental disorders, and the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of people affected by mental health problems.  ICN has developed a range of resources, including: the ICN Code of Ethics for Nurses; a Position Statement on Mental health, the WHO-ICN Atlas: Nurses in Mental Health 2007, an ICN monograph on Mental Health Nursing, ICN Fact Sheets on Developing Nursing Resources for Mental Health and on Mental Health: Tackling the Challenges. Other ICN resources on human rights, disaster response and violence also include mental health issues.

ICN actions towards universal access to quality mental health services include lobbying WHO, at the World Health Assemblies and Executive Board meetings, and calling on governments to increase the number of adequately trained nurses in primary health settings through three main actions: (1) to ensure adequate pre and post registration education in mental health; (2) to integrate mental health services in community based primary health care and (3) to expand the scope of practice of nurses to encompass the authority to assess, identify and treat common mental health disorders in primary health care settings. ICN is pleased that WHO has adopted the comprehensive mental health action plan 2013-2020 which emphasises promotion and prevention and addresses children and adolescents, community based care and the human rights of those suffering from mental disorders.

ICN, in partnership with Dialogue on Diabetes and Depression (DDD), has been implementing a training programme focusing on co-morbid management of diabetes and depression as part of the ICN Non-Communicable Disease Initiative. This programme has trained more than 200 nurse educators and other health professionals in seven African countries since 2011, and ICN is working with our partners to expand the project to other regions of the world.