Mental health

Learning from evidence

MHN’s education, academia and research activity is central to ensuring MHNs are equipped with appropriate values, knowledge and skills, so that they can draw on the best available evidence to deliver high quality care.  

This page highlights resources that support learning and evidence based practice in mental health.

Learning from evidence

Professor Fiona Nolan, Florence Nightingale Foundation Clinical Professor of Mental Health Nursing, University of Essex - Improving mental health care through nurse education in low income countries; a Mongolian case study

Professor Ricardo Araya, Lead of the Global Mental Health Research Group and Director of the Centre for Global Mental Health, King’s College London - Global mental health: how to fill in the gap

Professor Sue McAndrew, Professor of Mental Health and Young People, University of Salford MHNAUK Lecture - Connect Three: Winning the game by exploring the mental ill health connections between young service users, adult users of services and young carers

Edilma Yearwood, Past President of the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses - Examining the Evidence on Mental Health Literacy and Stigma Reduction in Low and Middle-Income Countries

Recovery in the Bin - Bethan Edwards, Rick Burgess and Ellie from Recovery in the Bin Neorecovery - A survivor led conceptualisation and critique

Mental Health Nurse evidence based interventions 

Enhancing the Quality of User Involved Care Planning in Mental Health Services (EQUIP). This study examines ways to improve user and carer involvement in care planning in mental health services. Hear all about the study from Professor Karina Lovell and Professor Patrick Callaghan, the EQUIP research study Chief and Principal Investigators.

SafewardsThe Safewards Model is derived from UK mental health nurses research and from the research efforts of many others around the world. It encourages staff and patients on psychiatric wards to work together to keep people safe and reduce conflict and containment as much as possible. 

Star WardsStar Wards was founded in 2006 by Marion Janner OBE, a trailblazing multi-award-winning ex-service user. Star Wards is now run by a tiny team who've many years of mental health nursing experience working on wards as well as leading other national initiatives. They work in partnership with mental health wards to improve everyone’s experiences and outcomes – patients, staff, family, friends and carers. 

The Triangle of Care, Carers Included: A Guide to Best Practice in Mental Health Care in England. The Triangle of Care can be used as a self-assessment tool to promote inclusion and improve carer engagement in health services. The approach was developed by carers, RCN mental health members and those with lived experience of mental health services and latterly people with Dementia. Its founder Alan Worthington (carer) noted, “Because of their role and numbers nurses have a considerable investment in engaging with carers to work together in planning and delivering support for the family member”. The guide outlines key elements to achieving this goal through establishing better partnerships between service users, their carers and organisations. In 2013 the Carers Trust returned to the RCN to adapt the Triangle of Care to meet the needs of carers of people with Dementia when the person they cared for was admitted to a general hospital. 

Patient and Public Involvement 

“As a MHN working with people with mental illness I get something back – a validation that I have achieved something – humanity – you get back more than you give out”.   

Mental health nurses are equipped with patient-centred values, evidence-based knowledge and skills so that they can implement highest quality care and promote service delivery change. To this end, the profession has a unique role to play in promoting patient and public involvement. The mental health programme is seeking ways to demonstrate our expertise in co-production by: 

  • establishing a strategy to involve those with lived experience of mental health services in RCN Mental Health programme activity – thereby demonstrating inclusion and transparency (see photograph of Sept 2019 inaugural meeting featuring members of Service Users and Carers Group Advising on Research (SUGAR) who inspired by the motto ‘nothing about us, without us’ have spearheaded and contributed lived experience expertise to numerous research proposals  and have also written journal papers and given conference workshops, presentations and posters
  • working with the Carers Trust to address the clear evidence that family, friends and carers need to be listened to and consulted more closely through Triangle of care domains.

E-support for Families and Friends of Individuals affected by Psychosis (EFFIP)

The E-support for Families and Friends of Individuals affected by Psychosis (EFFIP) project has been established since 2016 with funding support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). EFFIP project lasts for 5 years, from 2016 to 2020, to develop and evaluate a digital health intervention for carers supporting a relative or close friend with psychosis From March 2018, we have put the digital intervention, called “COPe-support” to a rigorous evaluation through a nation-wide online randomised controlled trial. To date we have recruited over 400 carers across England to the trial which is set to finish by October 2020. Visit for further information and updates on the project.

The EFFIP project has produced a few publications and more are coming, see:

Page last updated - 02/10/2020