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Mental health nurses take on pandemic challenges

11 May 2020

Tomorrow is International Nurses Day (May 12) - and the important role of mental health nurses is recognised and valued during this global health pandemic.

Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Ivan Frkovic has joined Australian College of Mental Health Nurses acting president Tom Ryan to pay tribute to mental health nurses across the State and around the country who are facing new challenges with the coronavirus pandemic.

About 3500 nurses in Queensland work in mental health and the national figure is 22,000.

Mr Frkovic said the job was challenging and the role of mental health nurses was now more important than ever as Australia, like the rest of the world, fights the deadly coronavirus and its economic and social fall-out.

“Mental health support services are experiencing steep increases in calls and there are predictions that suicide rates could rise in the wake of the pandemic,” he said.

Australian College of Mental Health Nurses acting president Mr Ryan, said mental health nurses were the backbone of our mental health systems.

Mr Ryan, a Townsville-based credentialed mental health nurse and psychotherapist, said mental health nurses worked with severe and complex mental health cases.

“There are a lot of us, we are spread across the country, and we are a very capable workforce in terms of being able to manage a spectrum of issues,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Frkovic said the role of mental health nurses during the COVID-19 crisis could not be overestimated.

“On this International Nurses Day 2020 we pay tribute to all nurses working in mental health and drug and alcohol services,” he said.

“They provide an important service to some of the most vulnerable groups in our society and we know that their workload will increase as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“Mental health nurses are at the forefront of helping to improve mental health and well-being in our society, both in the cities and in regional communities.

“This includes rural and remote communities where mental health services are limited or inaccessible to many.”

Mr Frkovic said that physical distancing restrictions meant many people were facing new challenges.

“Mental health nurses play an essential role in the mental health system. They are invaluable.

“They help nurture many people on the road to recovery and now, more than ever, we need them and we need to pay tribute to them and to their families and friends who support them,” Mr Frkovic said.

Also: Mental health nurses on the pandemic front line 


QMHC - Carolyn Varley, or 0477 385 121.