What Is a Mental Health Nurse?


You Will Learn.

  • What does a Mental Health Nurse do?
  • What are the responsibilities of a Mental Health Nurse?
  • What qualifications does a Mental Health Nurse need? 
  • What is the average salary of a Mental Health Nurse?
  • Who employs a Mental Health Nurse?
  • What are the progression opportunities for a Mental Health Nurse?
  • What is the role of a mental health nurse and skills needed?
  • Where are the latest Mental Health Nurse jobs and how to apply for them?
A nurse speaking with a sad looking patient

What Does a Mental Health Nurse Do?

A Mental Health Nurse is a registered nurse with specialist training in mental health nursing. They provide support, planning, medical and nursing care to people who have a range of mental health issues.

Usually based in psychiatric or specialist departments of hospitals, in the community or in patients homes, a Mental Health Nurse will often be working as part of a wider team of professional and medical staff.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Mental Health Nurse?

Mental Health Nurses often work as part of a wider team of professional and medical staff such as Social Workers and Doctors to support and promote the recovery of mental health patients. 

It is key for Mental Health Nurses to build relationships with those who use mental health services and their families, and constantly expand on their knowledge to be able to recommend a variety of community resources for patients and families to use.  

The main responsibilities of a Mental Health Nurse include:

  • Building relationships.
  • Supporting and promoting the recovery of patients.
  • Providing one to one or group therapy sessions for patients.
  • Carrying out risk assessments.
  • Visiting patients at home or in the community.
  • Delivering high quality care.
  • Ensuring medications are administered correctly. 
  • Maintaining and preparing patient records. 
  • Planning and assessing nursing care requirements.
  • Liaise with other professional and medical staff.
  • Ensuring all legal requirements are observed.
  • Building up knowledge. 
  • Helping patients manage their emotions.
  • Attending meetings and training courses when requested.

Frequently Asked Questions

To work as a Mental Health Nurse, you will need to obtain a degree level qualification in nursing and be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Nursing degree apprenticeships approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council are also available with some employers and may offer a more flexible way to study. 

Employers will also require your RMC pin which is a unique registration code given to every Registered Nurse.

The average salary of a Mental Health Nurse in the UK is bewteen £25,000 and £40,000 per year. The actual salary can vary depending on several factors such as the location, level of experience, and the specific employer.

Nurses in mental health work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, community health centers, and private practices, and their salaries can also be affected by the specific area of mental health they specialise in.

For example, a Nurse working in a psychiatric hospital or a secure unit may earn more than a Nurse working in a community mental health team.

Additionally, some Nurses may have additional qualifications or experience that can affect their salary level.

The majority of Mental Health Nurses are employed by the NHS. Outside of this, other employers include mental health charities, large private healthcare companies and the armed forces.

Some projects are jointly run by the NHS in partnership with Local Authority departments, other agencies or social services. 

What Makes a Good Mental Health Nurse?

Key skills of a Mental Health Nurse include: 

  • Flexibility, working shifts that provide 24 hour care may be required.
  • Work well as part of a team.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Compassion and empathy.
  • Good leadership skills.
  • Time management and organisation.
  • Ability to work in stressful situations.
  • Decision making.
  • Excellent observational skills.
  • Patience.
  • Emotional resilience.
  • Non judgemental approach.
  • Good listening and observational skills.
  • Assessing the needs of others.

Searching For Mental Health Nurse Jobs?

If you're searching for your next career opportunity, why not take a look at all the latest Mental Health Nurse jobs available now?

Search Mental Health Nurse Jobs

We work with hundreds of NHS Trusts, Local Authorities and private sector organisations throughout the UK so why not get in contact with one of our specialists who can advise on current and upcoming opportunities?


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If you're searching for your next Mental Health Nurse job, why not upload your CV?

Once registered, your CV will be directed to the most relevant consultant and they will contact you when a suitable vacancy becomes available.

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