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Digital Subscriptions > Mental Health Nursing > April/May 2018 > Non-violent resistance: towards a radically alternative mental health nursing practice

Non-violent resistance: towards a radically alternative mental health nursing practice

Mark Batterham Young persons’ specialist substance misuse worker Luke Cousins Young people’s substance misuse worker Ramon Wilson Young persons’ specialist substance misuse worker Dr Andrew Mathers Senior lecturer in sociology and criminology



The advance of austerity has produced an environment in which mental health services are increasingly under threat (Coxon, 2015).

Austerity is but the latest phase of a project of state restructuring which has rendered all public services as vulnerable to cuts, marketisation and privatisation.

The consequences are felt not only by service users, but public service professionals and workers whose dayto- day delivery of services made subject to the neoliberal values of competition, private ownership, and individual responsibility (Heywood, 2012, Harvey, 2005), runs contrary not only to their professional values, but also risks their own personal integrity and thereby wellbeing.

By ‘reclaiming radicalism’ public service professionals in general, and mental health nurses in particular, can indeed ‘promote our own form of positivity, anti-cynicism and belief in ourselves’ (Coxon, 2015: 15) by developing new forms of practice based in radical ideas and alternative values.

The outcome will not only be to empower service users, but also service providers who by practising what they believe to be right as well as what they believe to be effective can move beyond the ‘bad faith’ that can characterise supposedly ‘good practice’.

In this article, we will present and reflect upon one such new practice: nonviolent resistance (NVR) with parents and carers of adolescents displaying controlling and self-destructive behaviours.

We will locate NVR within a sociopolitical and theoretical context and consider its application in relation to an NVR group in the field of substance misuse.

We will also reflect on its implications for mental health nurses wishing to break from their conservative image and traditions (Barker and Buchanan-Barker, 2011).

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About Mental Health Nursing

This issue features a range of news, features and papers on mental health nursing, including a student focus on carrying out assessments, an initiative to support the physical health of people with a mental illness, an evaluation of emotional intelligence tests in recruitment, an examination of non-violent resistance, an article by comedian Jake Mills on his personal experience and campaigning in mental health, an introduction to the power threat meaning framework, and an interview with Vanessa Garrity.