Infirmières et santé mentale

Mental health care is an essential but often forgotten component of health care. Nurses are core health-care providers and they need to be able to contribute effectively to mental health care. In reality, however, most low and middle income countries do not have adequate numbers of nurses, and the education and training of nurses in these countries provide little of the knowledge and skills necessary for good mental health care. The result is poor or no mental health care for those who need it. Atlas: Nurses in Mental Health 2007 presents results of a global survey on the availability, education, training and role of nurses in mental health care. The fi ndings of this exercise, jointly conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Council of Nurses, are signifi cant though not entirely unexpected. The most consistent fi nding in the study is the severe shortage of nurses providing mental health care in most low and middle income countries. Lack of adequate opportunities for education and training in mental health during both initial nursing training and continuing education of nurses is also obvious from the results. In addition to the facts and fi gures included in the report, the respondents’ comments and opinions highlight the barriers that prevent nurses from contributing more effectively to mental health care. We know that people with mental disorders are stigmatized all over the world and that mental health services are far from satisfactory even in high income countries. Nurses can play a critical role in providing timely, effective and appropriate services to persons with mental disorders, and can also assist in safeguarding the human rights of their patients at treatment facilities and in society in general. Health systems within countries need to develop systematic plans to make this happen. National nursing associations can play a critical role in assisting the health planner in this task. WHO is also available to help with technical assistance. If this Atlas is able to initiate some steps towards a more integrated response to the burden of mental disorders with the involvement of n

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