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Why Talking About Mental Health Matters

Cartoon graphic of human head with gears in place of brain
The most exciting milestone I have witnessed in mental health nursing over the past few years is the continued acceptance of mentally ill patients and the growing popularity and success of anti-stigma campaigns. These types of initiatives help encourage individuals to seek mental healthcare sooner and discuss their mental health symptoms.

Angela Mackay, MSN, BSN, PHN, RN, started the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) in 2014 at Regions Hospital in Saint Paul, Minn. PERT is made up of experienced mental health staff trained to intervene in the medical-surgical inpatient setting. Since the program began 26 months ago, Mackay and her team have trained 190 healthcare workers on how to respond to mental health crisis situations, including appropriate use of psychiatric medications and how to reduce the use of restraints.

For her work with PERT, Mackay received the 2015 Innovation Award from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. Throughout her 25 years working in healthcare, Mackay has worked with patients in brain injury rehabilitation, medical-surgical, neurology and mental health units in the U.S. and the U.K. Mackay is a candidate for a Doctorate of Nursing Practice at Walden University in St Paul, Minn. and is on track to graduate in May 2016.

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