By now readers of this book would have been thinking quite deeply about the topic of mental health and the practical ways in which they might collaborate with and support people with a mental illness, their families and carers. The preceding chapters have given considerable emphasis to a narrative approach. This final chapter is orientated towards a discussion of leadership – particularly for new entrants into mental health settings.
Effective clinical care is person and family centred. It seeks to understand and involve consumers, carers and families in rich discussions about their needs, preferences and values. This understanding and involvement is also combined with evidence-based practice to support consumers in their treatment and recovery goals.
At the heart of the decision to take this approach in this book has been the fundamental belief in human connectedness. Each of the chapters contained within this book has set about encouraging discovery and learning by making sensitive revisions regarding the ways in which nursing, health and human services practices can be made more meaningful in the lives of those who need them.
By working through each of the chapters, readers will have been challenged to think about how and when to move in new ways when working with resilient and vulnerable people, which might be helpful across a range of practice settings when seeking to make a difference in the lives of people experiencing a mental illness. And while this is important in providing a theoretical and practical basis for care, it is at the point of care that effective leadership is required.
A message of leadership
What we say, do, think and feel as nurses and health professionals can be an expression of leadership. This approach speaks directly to the process of making sense of what people around us are doing together and how best to understand, engage and, as far as possible, be committed to support each other (Holm & Severinsson, 2010). Why is this important? Because there have been and continue to be reports of people with a mental illness not accessing any kind of mental health care. Some are being turned away. Others are being left behind.