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Nomophobia Offline
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Question Opinions? - May 5th 2012, 05:33 PM

Hey guys,

I want to go to uni next September (2013) and I'm considering doing mental health nursing, however I have mental health issues myself and I'm unsure whether that course would be too triggering to manage...what are your thoughts?

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Re: Opinions? - May 5th 2012, 06:48 PM

I think it depends entirely on what you want to do and what you think you can handle. I have mental health issues and I'm going for my masters in clinical mental health counseling because I really want it and I know I'll be able to handle it. Maybe talk to someone at the university about exactly what's involved etc. You know yourself best, if this is something you want, don't let mental health concerns hold you back. Just be aware that you might have to put extra effort into managing them.

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Re: Opinions? - May 6th 2012, 03:23 AM

Having mental illnesses can obviously be a disadvantage in everyday situations, however, in mental health nursing it can be an advantage. You can better understand your personal experiences as well as combine your personal experiences with research knowledge to better relate with patients. I cant say whether it would be too triggering for you but even if I thought it would be, I still would tell you to go ahead and study because if you don't try, you'll never know. Triggering topics are discussed in the courses, ranging from depression, suicide and self-harm to anxiety, sexual abuse and sexual disorders, drug abuse, etc... .

Some courses will explore these triggering topics in more detail than others. For example, I did a third-year forensic psychology course with guest lecturers from the FBI and police, so there was a lot of gruesome details mentioned including photographs. On the other hand, some other courses delved into surprisingly little detail and focused more on the problems with diagnoses and the DSM.

If you wish, you can still pursue other fields within psychology and maintain a clinical focus. Quite a few members study in counseling and social psychology, while fewer members, myself included, study neuroscience and forensic psychology. I maintain a clinical focus, address many of the same disorders but through a completely different lens.

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Re: Opinions? - May 6th 2012, 03:50 AM

Hey there,
I also went into a program that dealt with a lot of coursework on mental health as well as working with actual clients who were struggling. To add on to the above posters advice, in the beginning of my first year, the professors had this discussion with the class. They recognize that many people who turn to this sort of helping profession have had experience with mental illness themselves.

You have to self reflect and be honest with yourself. Even if you really want to do this but you think that it will be too hard for you to handle, then you have to make the decision to put your needs first. Clients you will work with need 100% from you, and if you're already on your way to burning out, then you won't be able to give them your all, you know? This is a profession dealing with at risk and vulnerable people. If you're too focused on your own mental health issues or you're over relating to patients or breaking boundaries then you're not giving them the proper treatment they need and deserve. I really encourage you to give this a lot of thought.

That being said, it is completely doable to complete a program even if you have mental health issues! The key to this is that you're actively seeking help and focusing on recovery. You also have to know your limits and really work on self care. If you do have a challenging time, there are many university supports and a lot of the time you can discuss this with your professor as they may be empathetic and a little more understanding than professors teaching other subjects.

Hope this helps a bit! :]

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Re: Opinions? - May 6th 2012, 10:29 PM

It seems that a very high percentage of mental health nurses have either current or past mental health problems.

I would talk to your treatment team about what their thoughts would be - remember that occupational health does put some limitations on how mentally well staff have to be to work.

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Re: Opinions? - May 11th 2012, 11:33 AM

If you wanna do it then you should go for it However, one thing I would say is to try to get better before you do it because the stress of my course has made me a lot worse and it really is not worth it. I know someone as well that had mental health problems and recovered and went to do mental health nursing but in her 2nd year she ended up in hospital because of the stress of it all.

Many nurses that I have spoken to have had mental health problems themselves, which makes them better at it so I think you will be good at it

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