TROUBLING MENTAL HEALTH NURSE EDUCATION
Alec Grant, PhD, trained as a mental health nurse in the mid-1970s, and over the next two decades gained a first degree in psychology and social science, masters in psychotherapy and a critical ethnographic PhD that explored the organisational mediation of the meaning and uptake of clinical supervision among mental health nurses. For over a decade he led undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in cognitive behavioural psychotherapy at the University of Brighton, and wrote major textbooks and journal articles in this area.
A breakdown combined with alcohol addiction difficulties in my mid-fifties resulted in his hospitalisation and treatment in UK state mental health and private addiction services. Grant’s experiences provoked his subsequent work in the collection and publication of lived-experience narratives of madness and institutional psychiatric treatment, and a sustained critique of the disease paradigm in mental health. He uses all of this work – in the shape of single and co-written books, published autoethnographies, and lived experiences – in teaching undergraduate and postgraduate mental health nurses and other mental health professionals in and outside of the UK. Grant aims to challenge and unsettle normative, mainstream, institutional psychiatric practices and assumptions, in mental health nurse higher education and beyond, and to champion the psychosocial paradigm and the central importance of narratives in understanding extreme human distress.
His blog, Troubling Mental Health Nurse Education will mainly focus on his own observations, in his published work and teaching experiences, of the challenges in moving mental health nursing in this direction. Grant writes regularly for the international journal, Nurse Education Today, and his blog will have both a UK and international focus. He will also write about the intersections between mental health care and other social movements and forms of oppression, from social and human scientific perspectives.