A few months ago we were delighted to have some mental health nurses from Germany visit the Nottingham Recovery College. Following their visit, we thought we would ask them some questions about their experience and share them with you on the blog. The following are the responses from Melanie Mattauch who replied to our questions via email. The responses have been very lightly edited for length and clarity. Thank you Melanie!
In which area of mental health do you work?
I'm working on an acute psychiatric ward in a huge mental health clinic in the south of Germany.
Why did you decide to apply for a placement in the UK?
I decided to apply for a placement in the UK, because we had already done a study trip to Nottingham in July last year to visit amongst others the Recovery College and Rampton Hospital. I was very fascinated about the Recovery College and I wanted to get to know the out-patient services of the mental health system in the UK.
How was your experience of the Nottingham Recovery College?
I had a great experience at the Recovery College. The staff was very friendly and open-minded. I love the concept of the Recovery College and it was very interesting for me to visit different kind of course. I found the themes of the courses very interesting. It's great that the attendees of the college are "students" and not "service users" and I think it's a great opportunity to reduce stigma.
What are the attitudes to mental health in Germany – have you found that they are different or similar to those in the UK?
I would say that the attitudes to mental health in Germany are similar to those in the UK. In Germany there is still a huge stigma about mental health.
Are there Recovery Colleges in Germany? If not, do you think that this model of mental health care would be well received?
We don't have any Recovery Colleges in Germany unfortunately. I'm not sure but I think in Germany it would be much harder to establish a Recovery College and to finance it. Maybe it would be possible to offer a few courses in a mental health clinic.
What sort of challenges do you think Germany will face in the area of mental health in the future?
I think the challenges will be to establish more out-patient services, to reduce clinical beds, to strengthen the patients’ rights, to involve relatives and Peers more in mental health treatment, to reduce the stigma, to improve the working conditions and to find specialised staff.
Thank you so much to Melanie, we very much enjoyed her visit and we wish her the best of luck with her future work and studies in mental health.
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