Welcome to the online companion to my poster presentation at the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses 42nd International Mental Health Nursing Conference, 25 – 27 October 2016, Adelaide Convention Centre.
If you have 6 minutes to spare, please watch the YouTube version:
“What can mental health nurses learn from the amazing story of a catholic patron saint?” was initially submitted as an #ACMHN2016 oral presentation, but accepted as a conference poster. So, instead of updating and reworking the YouTube presentation (as I had planned), I started again. I’m not sure that the poster meets the brief (well, abstract) as well as an oral presentation would have, but anyway…
Mental health nursing has a long tradition of story-telling as a tool for developing relationships, undertaking mental state assessment and informing clinical practice. This presentation aims to add to mental health nursing’s discourse about “how we do business”, and add another layer of cultural diversity to our narrative and identity. A review of the literature regarding a catholic patron saint called Dymphna has been undertaken. This will be summarised and presented in a manner in keeping with philosopher Alain de Botton’s proposal that religious teachings should not be trusted to the religious alone – they can be re-purposed and re-mixed to inform atheists too. The historical and mystical story of a 7th century European teenage martyr and saint will be aligned to 21st century Australian language and values. Dymphna’s tale takes unexpected twists and turns which will raise questions about Australia’s appetite for innovative models of mental health care, and whether more could be done to promote mental health nursing as a profession and an identity. This presentation will appeal to those interested in consumer-focused mental health care, innovative alternatives to mainstream care, celebrating mental health nursing, and amazing stories.
Catholic Online (n.d.) St. Dymphna. Retrieved from www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=222
Catholic Saints Info (2016, 27 July) Saint Dymphna. Retrieved from catholicsaints.info/saint-dymphna
de Botton, A. (2011, July) Alain de Botton: Atheism 2.0 [Video file] Retrieved from www.ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton_atheism_2_0
Franciscan Mission Associates. (n.d.) The Story of St. Dymphna. Retrieved from franciscanmissionassoc.org/prayer-requests/devotional-saints/st-dymphna/story/
Goldstein, J.L. & Godemont, M.M.L. (2003) The Legend and Lessons of Geel, Belgium: A 1500-Year-Old Legend, a 21st-Century Model. Community Mental Health Journal. 39: 441. doi: 10.1023/A:1025813003347
Ireland’s Eye (n.d.) Saint Dymphna. Retrieved from www.irelandseye.com/irish/people/saints/dympna.shtm
Jay, M. (2014, 9 January) The Geel question. Retrieved from aeon.co/essays/geel-where-the-mentally-ill-are-welcomed-home
Kirsch, J.P. (1909). St. Dymphna. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved from New Advent: www.newadvent.org/cathen/05221b.htm
McNamara, P. (2013, 14 May) Dymphna: The Amazing Story of a Catholic Patron Saint. Retrieved from meta4RN.com/dymphna
McNamara, P. (2013, 20 May) Should May 15th be International Mental Health Nurse Day? Retrieved from meta4RN.com/may15
Novena (n.d.) Feast of St. Dympna. Retrieved from novena.com/2013/05/15/feast-of-st-dymphna/
Openbaar Psychiatrisch Zorgcentrum (OPZ) – Geel website www.opzgeel.be/en/home/htm/intro.asp
Rabenstein, K.I. (1998) Saint of the day. Retrieved from www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0515.shtml
Wikipedia (2016, 21 September) Dymphna. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dymphna
In an effort to engage conference delegates in the story of Dymphna, the poster has been made in a colourful quasi-comic style. At time of writing this (a fortnight before the conference starts), I feel a bit anxious that someone will misinterpret the effort to visually engage people as trivialising the subject. This is a bit of a worry, because Dymphna’s story includes nasty stuff, not the least of which includes threatened incest, family violence and two people being beheaded. Even Donald Trump would know that these are not topics to be trivialised.
Although I don’t treat Dymphna’s story with the same reverence as The Pope, I do hold the stories I learnt as a catholic schoolboy with a nostalgic affection. My telling of Dymphna’s story is through the prism of a happily-lapsed-catholic, and with the words of Kirsch [see reference list above] ringing in my ears: “This narrative is without any historical foundation, being merely a variation of the story of the king who wanted to marry his own daughter, a motif which appears frequently in popular legends.” Dymphna’s amazing story is a centuries-old remix of a made-up myth. It’s not the news.
The Technical Stuff
The poster was made using Apple Pages running on a 2011 iMac.
The poster was made for non-commercial reasons, and full attribution has been given to the authors/works used to inform/illustrate the poster. I expect the same in return, so “What can mental health nurses learn from the amazing story of a catholic patron saint?” by Paul McNamara is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
There’s a description of how the video was made here: meta4RN.com/Dymphna
You can either cite this web page as:
McNamara, P. (2016, 11 October) What can mental health nurses learn from the amazing story of a catholic patron saint? Retrieved from http://meta4RN.com/amazing
McNamara, P. (2016) What can mental health nurses learn from the amazing story of a catholic patron saint? (poster, ACMHN’s 42nd International Mental Health Nursing Conference Nurses striving to tackle disparity in health care 25 – 27 October 2016, Adelaide Convention Centre). International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, Vol 25, Issue S1, Pg 34. doi: 10.1111/inm.12771
I’ll leave a copy of the PDF here (amazingstoryposter2) just in case I need it one day. Things are much easier to find/share when they’re online.
Previous visitors to my website will know that I’ve covered the Dymphna story previously back in 2013. It’s not self-plagiarising if it’s referenced, is it? It’s more like a funky new remix. 🙂
If you’re at the conference, please say howdy if you see me skulking about, and/or share this web page or your pics of the poster using the #ACMHN2016 hashtag.
As always, your comments are welcome below.
Paul McNamara, 11th October 2016.