“I can’t praise them enough, especially in current times. You have to go a long way to find any better.”

Those are the words of Eddie, who is a carer for someone with a mental health condition.

He recognises the vital role mental health nurses play in helping people to achieve the outcomes that are important to them.

On Mental Health Nurses Day - today, Sunday, February 21 - Eddie is supporting Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust to celebrate mental health nurses.

He wants to say thank you for the compassion and care they provide to support people with a range of complex mental health conditions.

Eddie said: “The nurses are very on the ball, getting service users and carers involved. I can’t praise them enough, especially in current times.

"They have all been excellent and I have a good rapport with them all. They are always willing to discuss things with you, pointing you in the right direction if you need help. All the help I have requested I have received.

"They are all individuals with different ways of approaching things, and I have always been treated with respect, they are courteous and you have to go a long way to find any better.”

AWP employs over 1,300 nurses who provide inpatient and community-based care across Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.

Katie, an AWP service user, said: “Mental Health nurses have had a positive impact on my care.

"When being in hospital the care that nurses provide has really helped with my recovery. From reassurance around medication, to conversations about my distress, distraction and encouraging me to come out of my room have all been so helpful.

"Nurses who are kind and professional have helped me in my continued recovery. When being assessed or receiving treatment, I can’t thank mental health nurses enough for all they have done for me. Thank you.”

Mental Health Nurses work in a range of roles and settings including 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.

Elena Ely is a community nurse manager for the Bath and North East Somerset early intervention in psychosis team.

She said: “I have been a mental health nurse for over 30 years, and if I had my time over again, I would have made the same decision.

"I have found it to be a challenging, rewarding and very interesting profession. The sense of accomplishment it brings when you see people overcome difficulties and move on with their lives is unique.

"As I come towards the end of my career as a nurse, I can truly say that my life has been enriched by my choice of profession. Never bored and always fulfilled!”

Julie Kerry, director of nursing and quality, at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, said: “We are so proud of all our nursing staff for the compassionate and dedicated care they provide to our patients, not just during the pandemic, but at all times.

"It’s been a really tough 12 months for everyone, including our nursing teams, who have had to adapt to new ways of working in order to support our patients and their colleagues.

"On Mental Health Nurses Day we are recognising the challenges our nurses have faced and embraced and we’re saying thank you for all they are doing to keep the excellent care and support of our patients and service users at the core of what they do.”

AWP NHS Trust has a variety of nursing roles available to anyone considering a career in mental health nursing, looking for a new challenge or those thinking about returning to practice.

If you’re interested in a career in mental health nursing visit https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/nursing/roles-nursing/mental-health-nurse or to find out about opportunities at AWP visit http://jobs.awp.nhs.uk/