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Department of Mental Health Nursing

About the Department

We believe there is no health without mental health. As a team, we’re working relentlessly to change the way people understand the relationship between body and brain. A vital part of this is learning from people living with mental health illnesses.

Whilst mental health is part of all nursing and midwifery, we believe there is a specialist role for the mental health nurse, educator and researcher to provide support for people with acute distress and long-term conditions. It’s a challenging career path, but it’s also one of the most rewarding.

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At King’s College London, we aim to develop nurses who combine research expertise, experience and patient values to provide excellent care. Based in central London, we have numerous links to specialist mental health foundation trusts and partner with experts across the city. Together, we’re banishing stigma, boosting understanding and breaking down barriers.

Preparing students for their future 

We offer two routes to registration, a range of professional development modules, Masters degrees and research degree programmes. 

Every student has a personal tutor who supports them throughout their learning – both at university and in practice. They’ll also have the chance to apply for mentoring with one of alumni to prepare them for their career. 

Alongside placements and lectures, students have opportunities to develop research and clinical practice skills – from international clinical electives to undergraduate research fellowships.

Learning about mental healthcare in a crowded city means students see the impact of social, as well as psychological, physical, pharmacological and spiritual health on people’s mental health and recovery.

Tommy Dickinson, Head of Department

Our courses

Growing a team that shape thinking around mental health 

We’re a close-knit team of lecturers, teaching fellows, lecturer practitioners, research associates and PhD students. Visiting lecturers also share their expertise with us and our students. 

Together, we influence, support and train to give people the skills they need to help those living with mental illness, their families and communities. 

Our students are taught by the people that write their textbooks – ‘The Art & Science of Mental Health Nursing’, one of the most comprehensive books in the field, is edited by our Executive Dean Professor, Ian Norman, and nearly half the chapters are written by the team. 

Understanding mental healthcare through patient experience  

Our research gives people a voice and helps us listen to the groups that are “hard to hear”. This involves working with people in recovery to champion putting people who are experts by experience at the centre of our research. 

We also partner with other groups. For example, in our research that explores reducing suicides on railways we are working with the University of Westminster, Middlesex University, Network Rail and the Samaritans.  

The Department leads research in:  

  • Mental health, stigma and loneliness in older people  
  • Child and adolescence mental health 
  • Managing self-harm behaviours  
  • History of mental health nursing including treatment for homosexuality (when it was viewed as an illness) 
  • Policy and workforce development  
  • Student mental health wellbeing 

Dr Tommy Dickson’s research on historical accounts of treatments to “cure” homosexuality led to him acting as the Historical Consultant for the BAFTA-nominated BBC film Against the Law, and helping curate exhibitions at the Science Museum and Manchester Museum.

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