ICN influences the future of mental health training for nurses and other health professionals at WHO global guidelines event in Shanghai, China

26 March 2024
PR 11

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has taken part in a World Health Organization (WHO) technical workshop on the implementation of pre-registration mental health and substance use education and training for nurses and other health professionals.

ICN was represented at the event in Shanghai, China, by Espen Gade Rolland, who is the head of the Norwegian Nurses Organisation's (NNO) professional group for mental health and addiction.

Last week, ICN launched its new Guidelines on Mental Health Nursing, which Mr Rolland contributed to as a member of ICN's expert group on mental health nursing and an ICN Certified Global Nurse Consultant.

In his opening remarks to the workshop, Mr Rolland highlighted the importance of including the nursing perspective in global policy and leadership.

Mr Rolland said: “Nurses are in the frontline of healthcare, providing a continuum of care that encompasses compassion, empathy, and unwavering dedication towards more humane, effective and inclusive health care services.”

He told participants at the meeting that ICN’s new Guidelines have been developed with the goal of setting international standards for best practices in nursing within mental health, based on holistic care for people at risk for experiencing mental health or substance use challenges.

Mr Rolland said: “Participation in this workshop is an important acknowledgment of the work ICN has done in defining roles and scope of practice, addressing educational challenges and establishing professional standards.”

ICN acknowledges the Norwegian Nurses Organization for funding Rolland's participation at this workshop, and Mr Rolland’s global leadership in bringing mental health nursing on to the global health agenda.

The next step after the Shanghai meeting will be an extensive consultation on new WHO guidance for nurses and doctors, especially for those in low- and middle-income countries, in entry/first level education to increase their competence and understanding of mental health and addiction problems.

ICN's 2022 The Global Mental Health Nursing Workforce report showed that 44% of all mental health care is provided by nurses. ICN estimates there are approximately 300,000 specialist mental health nurses worldwide, with significant variations between regions, from 0.9 per 100,000 in Africa to 25.2 per 100,000 in Europe. The report highlights significant disparities in available mental health care globally.