RIP, Mental Nurse :(

The Mental Nurse blog, in which so many of us have been involved in one way or another for some time, is dead. It passed away on Friday, before being all-too-quickly reincarnated as some dirgey piece of spam holding crap.

*weeps inconsolably*

The demise of the Madosphere’s favourite blog was not caused by anything particularly sinister – it is understood that there was a problem in renewing the domain name, and in the brief time that the URL was unregistered, someone else came in and stole it. Frustrating as fuck, certainly, but essentially just very unfortunate luck.

I am in mourning, as I know many others must be. So I thought I’d write a little tribute.

Mental Nurse (MN) had a certain curiosity to it. It was written mainly by…well, by mental nurses (or trainee mental nurses), yet a substantial number of its readers were us lot, the patients. In this way, it was able to bring about a respectful and equal dialogue between these two often disconnected demographics. This was a forum where (in the main!) courteous and empathetic discussion and the swapping of ideas and stories took place, undoubtedly (a) improving the practice and client-understanding of the staff involved and (b) giving us patients a better idea of what goes on behind the closed doors of the offices of CMHTs and psychiatric wards/hospitals, coupled with the knowledge that not all mental health practitioners are ogres 😉

Another function of the blog was the bringing of patients together. Because it was so popular in the sphere of mental health blogging, we could all get together in the comments sections and talk to each other, discovering new blogs, new people, and ultimately new friends. As many long-term readers of this blog will be aware, in August there was a mass-meeting of mentals in London: whilst this was not directly spurred by MN, certainly the sense of community on the site had initially brought some of the people concerned together online. Zarathustra (Z), who at the time was the main contributor to the site (and later the Editor, after Mental Nurse himself retired), was at the occasion and bought me a pint. He is held in high esteem for this generous action.

No where was the sense of community more evident than in the weekly This Week in Mentalists (TWIM) round-ups, where the best of that week’s writing across the Madosphere was featured. I, along I’m sure with others, used to wait in foot-tapping impatience each Saturday, desperate for my regular dose of TWIM. The series’ importance culminated (from 2008 to 2010 inclusive) in the annual TWIM Awards, the recipients of which were decided by MN’s multitude of readers.

My two personal favourite memories of TWIM were (a) the first time I was included on it, because I was surprised that anyone cared what I had to say; and (b) when I got my very first blog award, a runners-up place in 2009’s awards. I actually won two (!) awards from the site at the end of 2010, which was beyond amazing – but the first one will always stick in my head particularly.

TWIM was certainly one of MN’s more popular endeavours, but there were a number of other series that merit recognition. In the last year or so, Z wrote regular analyses on the debate on the regulation on psychotherapy, which were very insightful and informative. There were also regular critiques on the dire standards and poor practices in mental health services in certain NHS Trusts (something about which I, as you might well imagine, am pretty passionate!). The site offered commentary on the political and social issues surrounding mental health issues, both from its core team of staff and from guest writers. And although I never participated much – because I’m not very good at off the cuff humour – I always enjoyed the results of the semi-regular caption competitions.

The very lovely UselessCPN has written up This Week in Mentalists for this week. I’m not sure what, if anything, will become of it in the long-term; maybe those of us that were MN devotees can host it temporarily until it finds a permanent home again…who knows. Time will tell.

What I do know is that Zarathustra and the wider Mental Nurse project will be greatly missed by so many people. I wish my best to all the personnel who made it into the successful, informative and witty site – and, indeed, community – that it was, and commend its memory to you, good readers.

What are you favourite memories?


21 thoughts on “RIP, Mental Nurse :(

    • I’m not sure, but if the site is anything like my own, then you’d be unable to log-in to WordPress and retrieve the archives to put them elsewhere. So maybe, but it would have to be from scratch. We shall see…

      • Their web-host will be able to give them the actual root address for their server rather than the virtual one (domain) and then they can log in using that. Should be able to get everything to transfer across to the new domain name. In fact if they contact their webhost and register the new domain they should be able to swap it out at the host’s end and it should all just work when the DNS propagates.

  1. A shame to hear this news, but you have written a fitting tribute to what was a fabulous blog and the provider of so much information, so thank you for thanking them.

  2. I was gutted when I heard. I loved MN and although I didn’t contribute as much as I could have, it was a massive influence on me as I started to write and introduced me to the ‘community’ of blogging. I remember the thrill when I was first included in TWIM – it made me beam for an entire weekend – until I went back to work.
    You’ve highlighted the most important aspect of the site in your post though which for me, was bringing together people who work in mental health services and people who use mental health services and sometimes people who fall into both categories.

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  4. Agree with earlier comments. The content shouldn’t be lost, and will be sitting on someone’s computer. All that’s needed is a new domain name and the whole thing should be able to be restored.

  5. Whaaaaaaaaaaat?!! I only found Mental Nurse recently and have visited the url many in the last few days just to stare blankly at the atrocious spam that now sits pathetically in MN’s place. Pah! How ruddy rude!
    Twas my portal to the madosphere and I feel a little like I’ve lost my anchor *sob* .
    Fingers crossed the annals cans be retrieved and MN is resurrected to it’s former gloriousness. Amen. Thankyou please.

  6. Sad news, but the content should still be there. If nothing else, Google Cache has a copy of pretty much everything on the blog. So it’s not just vanished.

    Please someone resurrect it!

    • Hey!

      This is a nightmare, it needs to come back.

      Where is Z, what’s going on? I don’t think we want an obitury just yet – this can be fixed

      • Hi Rosy 🙂

        As far as I know, both and cannot be retrieved, but yeah – I’m sure some new domain can be created.

        I asked Z – he’s still running their Facebook (and, I think, Twitter) account(s) – if he had the archives, but he doesn’t. As Neuroskeptic says, it’s not that they aren’t there, but currently (as he can’t log in to WordPress) he can’t access them. Maybe his hosting company will be able to somehow get them to him somehow, though.

        So, there is a little hope, yeah 🙂 But it’s likely to take a bit of time, I’d guess.

        Take care

        Pan x

  7. Why oh why did they not have it on to automatically renew? Biggest mistake any domain holder can make is letting it expire. Once a domain has gone, that’s it. You are essentially held to ransom by the evil domain-stealing bot people. They use robots to trawl the whois for popular sites that are due for renewal soon and then they automatically register them as soon as they become available. They will “offer” to let you buy the domain for them at stupidly raised prices.

    They will be able to register a new domain, contact their web host and ask for them to be swapped out. Then it should just all run as normal when complete. Depends on their host though and their customer service. My host is brilliant and deals with all requests personally.

    • My understanding is that Z tried renew it before its expiry and that it failed, but I could be wrong. Either way, auto-renew is definitely the way to go if/when it’s set up again.

      I just checked my own domain, and it seems that the renewal process will be automated. Either way, I’ll be keeping a close eye on it after this fiasco.

  8. Wot absolute poppy bollox!! I demand a stewards enquiry.
    I’m off to join the facebook page and start one of those online petition thingies… I wonder if any of those have ever actually worked?
    Hugs all

  9. Such commitment. Such desire to inform. I loved it.

    Apart from the support of highly unscientific diagnosis, of course. And the asshole nurses that assume that they’re great because they’re in a nice job (compensatory ethics/moral balancing).

    But on the whole, I miss it too.

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