It depends what you mean by "practical nursing" - if this means clinical skills such as taking bloods, inserting NG tubes, carrying out ECGs etc., then mental health nursing students are now required by the NMC to undertake these skills, and registered MH nurses often carry out these skills on wards. I'm not sure where you have picked up that general nursing is more flexible than mental health, however that's widely untrue. Mental health nurses can practice in schools, in the community, in prisons, in wards, in care homes, in youth centres and in GP practices. There's endless opportunities for both nursing disciplines. There's old age psychiatry, general psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, CAMHS or substance misuse nursing. Overall, go with what you are more interested in. If you're interested in the medical side of things general nursing may be for you. MH nursing is often more mentally demanding as you'll be faced with a lot of aggression, challenging and complex behaviour, trauma backgrounds and self harm. General nursing can be quite repetitive in that you're doing IVs, infusion pumps, wound care day in and day out. In order to take part in surgeries that would likely come with a lot of experience in general nursing and career progression, a newly qualified band 5 nurse wouldn't be doing that.