Publish date: 21 February 2022

"Seeing someone with a serious mental illness recover and go on to lead an enjoyable life, and knowing I played my part in their journey, is so rewarding and fulfilling."

Those are the words of Allison Teagle, a Mental Health Nurse and Ward Manager, who works for Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust.

On Mental Health Nurses Day (Monday 21st February) AWP is highlighting the vital role that Mental Health Nurses play in supporting patients and service users with a range of serious mental health conditions. Whether it is assessing patients' needs, providing care and treatment, carrying out one-to-one therapy or working with families to monitor a patient's progress, the role is wide and varied.

Allison said: "It is well known that the pandemic has affected people's mental health in a variety of ways and I have seen first-hand the struggles of those with serious mental illness. But to see someone with a serious mental illness recover and go on to lead an enjoyable life, and knowing I played a part in their journey, is so rewarding and fulfilling."

Elena, who is a Community Mental Health Nurse in Bath and North East Somerset, said: "It is a privilege to work alongside clients and their families to come through the toughest times in their lives. I have been inspired by the courage, commitment and determination of the people we work with. The sense of accomplishment it brings when you see people overcome difficulties and move on with their lives is unique. Mental health nursing has given me the opportunity to acquire extended skills, becoming a nurse prescriber and a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) therapist has made my job interesting and enabled me be a better nurse."

AWP employs over 1,300 Mental Health Nurses who work in a variety of roles across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon, Wiltshire, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, supporting people with serious mental illness. The Trust also provides secure, eating disorders, drug and alcohol, perinatal and learning disability services, as well as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and services for veterans and deaf people with mental health conditions.

Katie, an AWP patient, who has struggles with severe depression, said: "Mental Health Nurses have had such a positive impact on my recovery. From giving me reassurance around medication to conversations about my distress, and encouraging me to come out of my room, without their support I wouldn't be where I am today."

Adrian Childs, Director of Nursing and Quality at AWP, said: "On Mental Health Nurses Day we not only want to highlight the amazing work of our nurses, but also thank them for the integral part they play in supporting our patients and service users, making a genuine difference to people's lives and enabling recovery. The commitment and dedication of our nurses is truly inspirational, as far as I'm concerned mental health nurses are the unsung heroes of the NHS and I am pleased that we have today to celebrate the amazing work they do and raise the profile of this important role."  

Allison continued: "I would urge anyone who is considering a career in healthcare to consider specialising in mental health nursing. One day you could be supporting people to take their medication correctly or carrying out one-to-one therapy, and the next you could be providing advice about appropriate therapies or social activities. No two days are the same and that's what I love about it."

To become a Mental Health Nurse the main route is through a degree course at university. Entry requirements for these courses can vary depending on where and how you would like to study. Typically you will need a minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4/C or above, plus two A levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications for an undergraduate degree.

You can also become a Mental Health Nurse by undertaking a nurse degree apprenticeship or a nursing associate apprenticeship, which AWP can support you to achieve.

If you've become inspired and are interested in a career in mental health nursing you can find out more here or to find out about mental health nursing opportunities at AWP visit

Sarah Jones, Deputy Director of Nursing at AWP, who has been a Mental Health Nurse for 19 years shares her thoughts on the past two years, her career journey and a call to anyone considering becoming a Mental Health Nurse to find out more. You can watch the short film here: