Community mental health nursing

Gylo Hercelinskyj, Eileen Petrie

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter in textbook/reference book

2 Citations (Scopus)


Community mental health nursing takes place outside of the traditional confines of the mental health system, and locates practice within and towards communities. The practice of nurses working in community mental health settings is founded on the principles of primary health care, health promotion and public health. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organization of Doctors (WONCA) (2008) stated that approximately 14 per cent of the global burden of disease was attributable to mental illness, and that approximately 25 per cent of the global population would be affected by mental illness in any given year. In Australia, the Australian Bureau of Statistics' CABS) National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing in 2007 indicated that one in five Australians had reported having a mental disorder in the preceding 12-month period CABS, 2007). Historically, the care and treatment provided to people living with mental illness have been delivered through institutional settings, where care was focused on containment. The general public was largely ignorant of mental illness, and the language used when referring to people diagnosed with a mental illness was largely pejorative and immensely stigmatising (Overton &: Medina, 2008). Many of these stigmatising views were perpetuated through media coverage of mental illness that equated mental illness with 'bad news'. The negative, often inaccurate and unbalanced reporting serves to perpetuate myths that people with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia are always violent. Changing social values, together with advances in medical care, newer and more effective pharmaceutical treatments, and broader definitions of mental health have seen significant changes in the ways in which mental health nurses work with mental health service users and their carers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAn introduction to community and primary health care
EditorsDiana Guzys, Eileen Petrie
Place of PublicationPort Melbourne, VIC
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781107633094
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this

Hercelinskyj, G., & Petrie, E. (2014). Community mental health nursing. In D. Guzys, & E. Petrie (Eds.), An introduction to community and primary health care (1st ed., pp. 193-202). Cambridge University Press.