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Students, inclusion, help-seeking and compassionate caring

Sue Holttum (Senior Lecturer (Research), Clinical Psychology Training Programme, Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University, Southborough, UK)

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

ISSN: 2042-8308

Article publication date: 11 May 2015




The purpose of this paper is to focus on students, trainee nurses, early career psychologists, and other mental health professionals and their response to mental distress or the stresses of working in mental health.


Three journal articles are summarised. The first highlights mental distress in university students and their reluctance to seek counselling. The second paper focuses on addressing the impact that the work of mental health workers can have on them and how this can jeopardise compassionate care. The third paper presents a model of inclusive and caring nurse education.


University students may be more likely to seek counselling for mental distress if they have information about its usefulness and it is normalised rather than stigmatised. Mental health workers including early-career psychologists need to know about “compassion fatigue” and “compassion satisfaction” and need safe places to reflect on the personal impact of hearing about their clients’ traumatic experiences. A whole-organisation model of nurse education that emphasises belonging and inclusiveness may increase nurse retention and nurses’ personal resilience.


The paper on students’ help-seeking is the first meta-analysis of several studies on this topic (involving similar variables and measures) in several years. The paper on mental health workers and compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction is rare in looking at this across different professions in one setting. It highlights important ways of maintaining workers’ ability to deliver compassionate care. The model of nurse education is based on recent research evidence and may help increase retention and foster reflection, self-awareness, and resilience in nurses.



Holttum, S. (2015), "Students, inclusion, help-seeking and compassionate caring", Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 61-67.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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