Recent mental health policy has focused on developing community-based services, but the reality remains that patients experiencing acute episodes of illness are mainly cared for in hospital settings. Acute Mental Health Nursing has been developed as a guide to the core knowledge and skills required for working in inpatient settings.


A report in The Guardian newspaper in September 1999 told the sad story of a talented playwright called Sarah Kane who committed suicide at the age of 28 (Guardian, 1999). She has been hailed as ‘the young playwright of her generation’ yet her professional success was blighted by a long history of severe depression. In the two years before her death she had been in and out of psychiatric care, and her illness finally resulted in her taking her life. The story is tragic. What is even more tragic is that Sarah Kane took her life when she was in hospital, where she should have been ‘safe’. According to The Guardian newspaper report, medical staff had recognised her suicidal risk as she had been ...

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