The place of the family in mental health nursing: past, present and future


  • Duncan Tennant RGN RMN

    Corresponding author
    1. Clinical Nurse Specialist in Psychotherapy, St John's Hospital at Howden and Bangour Village Hospital, Broxburn, and MSc Student, Department of Nursing Studies, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Lothian, Scotland
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  • This paper is based on a ‘Families in Transition’ course paper for MSc Nursing and Health Studies University of Edinburgh

Duncan Tennant, Clinical Nurse Specialist Bangour Village Hospital Broxburn Lothian, Scotland


The importance of the family system has, in recent years, been de-emphasized in the planning and delivery of mental health services A sample of the psychiatric nursing literature over the last 4 decades is reviewed to reveal that this is not a new phenomenon with regard to psychiatric nursing practice The shortcomings of such a de-emphasis are discussed, some exceptions to the rule are described and some suggestions for future development of family interventions by mental health nurses are made