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Digital Subscriptions > Mental Health Nursing > OctNov 2018 > Community care

Community care

Donna Kemp and Hollie Roblin examine how care in the community has changed over the year

Community care for people with mental health difficulties far precedes the formation of the NHS. Through the middle ages, communities cared for their own, with the terms ‘village idiot’ and ‘lunatic’ being attributed to people with mental impairment. As far back as the 12th century monks known as ‘soul friends’ took perhaps the earliest description of a mental health nursing role in the community. The monks would visit people who were suffering from mental disorders and offer them (and their families) spiritual guidance.

During the 1600s and 1700s, people who had no means of sustaining themselves in the community were accommodated in ‘madhouses’. People attending were concerned with keeping order rather than taking a caring role.

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About Mental Health Nursing

This special edition of Mental Health Nursing has been produced to celebrate 70 years of the NHS. It includes features examining how mental health nursing has changed and developed over the decades.