International Nurses Day

International Nurses Day takes place on 12 May every year and provides an opportunity to recognise nurses around the world for their contribution to health care. The day is celebrated on 12 May as this is the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth.  

This year the theme for International Nurses Day is 'A voice to lead: Health is a Human Right'

For International Nurses Day 2018, join ACMHN to be an advocate for better health and mental health of all Australians through our Thunderclap campaign. Find out how you can participate here.


International Nurses Day message from Frank Quinlan from ACMHN on Vimeo.



"Thank you to all the nurses who work professionally and compassionately in mental make a real difference and change lives. Your work is deeply valued by people who need you most. I grew up with a wonderful woman in my family; she trained as a mental health nurse before WWII and worked in the system in Toowoomba for over 30 years. She was a strong woman, proud of her profession and dedicated to service. These qualities reflect the heart of the profession".

- Senator Claire Moore, Labor Senator for Queensland



ChristineMorgan"Mental health nurses are on the frontline in working with those with eating disorders. Most importantly, and significantly, they set the 'tone' and basis of the relationship between the patient and the therapeutic team - and for those suffering from eating disorders the right initial approach is integral to whether they will engage with the team. Mental health nurses are the key to early intervention strategies and practices both in the illness itself and in each episode of illness. Most importantly, they are also an integral point of connection with families, providing information and support. 

Your role as a mental health nurse is critical, and integral to the delivery of mental health services in our communities. Your practice really matters and makes a difference to all patients, particularly those struggling with eating disorders. You are an essential point of connection between the patients, their family and the therapeutic team. Your experience is essential in informing the future development of services and how they are delivered. Thank you!"
- Christine Morgan, CEO / Director, The Butterfly Foundation



"Mental health nurses are the backbone of humane mental health care through their unique skills, flexibility and personal relationship with people with mental illness. They need to be more strongly supported in primary and community care.

Keep the faith and the focus on the person with mental illness."
- Patrick McGorry AO, Executive Director, Orygen





"As Australia's mental health nurses - working every day to make things better for people experiencing mental illness - you're in a unique position to help smash stigma: in your workplaces, amongst your peers, in other services and in the community. Thank you for the work you do."

- Georgie Harman, CEO, beyondblue




"It's their wonderful contribution of professional skill, and compassion for some of the most vulnerable people in Australia, that makes a mental health nurse's role unique. Time and again, I've seen them go 'above and beyond' for their clients - from providing medication and treatment, to offering essential encouragement and guidance, and a caring hand to hold, when the going gets tough.

You are worth your weight in gold. Don't ever underestimate the value of the life-saving work you do."
- Senator Penny Wright



JohnFeneley"On International Nurses Day I would like to applaud the phenomenal work of mental health nurses in NSW and Australia.

Every day you are at the frontline of our system's response to some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Day by day, hour by hour, you work alongside people who experience mental illness and their families. Your relationships with the people to whom you offer care and support are at the very heart of your work. You have committed to working in one of the most difficult parts of the health system. Our mental health system is under-funded and subject to extraordinary pressure. It often is not structured to help prevent people becoming acutely unwell.

As mental health nurses, you care for those who are in crisis because of those failings. That is draining and personally demanding, and I would like to acknowledge your resilience in the face of these challenges.

Slowly but surely, mental health responses are changing for the better. The evidence shows we must emphasise the needs and preferences of people experiencing mental distress, recognising their individual history and supporting their recovery.
You are at the forefront of this reform movement. Every interaction you have with a client or a colleague, and every clinical decision you make, is an opportunity to change the system for the better.

You have picked up this challenge with great enthusiasm. As I have travelled widely in NSW, meeting community-based and hospital mental health teams, I have seen the energy and creativity with which front-line nurses and those in management positions drive improved models of care that put people at the centre.

You are respected in our community because of your wealth of knowledge, the professionalism with which you carry out your work, and the trust you share with the people you support.

Your perceptions need to be central as governments – state and federal – seek new solutions to the organisation and funding of mental health services. I ask you please to speak up. You are more powerful than you may think!

Today I hope you will take time to reflect on your enormous contribution, and to feel some personal satisfaction in the difference you make."
- John Feneley, NSW Mental Health Commissioner


The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists acknowledges International Nurses Day as an opportunity to recognise the important contribution of nurses in the Australian health care system.

I would like to personally congratulate the College of Mental Health Nurses on the vital work mental health nurses undertake in tackling mental health issues in Australia. The clinical knowledge and skills of mental health nurses in caring for patients and supporting families through difficult and often uncertain circumstances is highly regarded by the psychiatry profession.

In my own clinical role, I work closely with mental health care nurses on a daily basis, being crucial members of the mental health team. As a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, I particularly value the support and care that mental health nurses provide to children and adolescents when they receive inpatient care.

The role of mental health nurses makes a difference for patients, carers, families and the surrounding community.

Congratulations and best wishes for International Nurses Day.
- Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair, Practice, Policy and Partnerships Committee, RANZCP