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Mental health

Our role is to help our healthcare partners train and shape the NHS workforce to improve services and care for patients and users.

At least one-in-four people experience a mental health problem at some point in their life. It is the single largest cause of disability in the UK, contributing up to 22.8% of the total burden, compared with 15.9% for cancers and 16.2% for cardiovascular diseases. The wider economic costs of mental illness in England are estimated at between £70 and £100 billion each year.

All health professionals need to have an understanding of mental health conditions. We have developed training programmes that enable health and care employers to ensure staff have an awareness of mental health problems and how they may affect their patients. These include an awareness of the links between patients’ mental and physical health and the impact of co-morbidity, the importance of work to health and health outcomes as well as the actions they can take to ensure patients receive appropriate support.


The HEE mental health programme is designed to help our healthcare partners train and shape the NHS workforce to improve services and care for patients and users. You can now keep up to date with our work and receive regular newsletters. The newsletter updates will include:

- latest published and forthcoming reports

- consultations, forums, meetings, networks

- online and face to face events

- reference groups of forums developing mental health learning

- latest news, features, and stories

- education, training and learning development opportunities

To receive these updates, subscribe to the mental health programme stakeholder contact list. You can also view our privacy policy.

Recent newsletters:

- October 2021

- September 2021

December 2020


Stepping Forward to 2020/21: Mental Health Workforce Plan for England, sets out a high level road map and reflects the additional staff required to deliver the transformation set out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. The plan was developed by HEE together with its NHS partners, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and other experts in the field of mental health services. 

The Mental Health Core Skills Education and Training Framework has been developed in partnership with Skills for Health and Skills for Care. The framework is part of the cross-government strategy on mental health, No Health Without Mental Health and aims to improve the way the health and social care workforce care for people with mental health issues by outlining the core skills and knowledge they need to provide high-quality services.

Mental health services are delivered by a diverse and extensive workforce, and this framework determines standards for their education and training and helps evaluate whether these have been met. It classifies key skills and knowledge into three tiers, ranging from general mental health awareness to the skills needed to care for people with complex mental health needs.

Health Education England commissioned the National Workforce Skills Development Unit (NWSDU) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust to develop a resource to get employers to rethink how they deal with workforce stress. The framework Workforce Stress and the Supportive Organisation, which can also be accessed as an interactive pdf, gives further weight to the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission and its recommendations that there is a requirement to build organisational resilience but is a separate initiative to give further guidance and support to employers. It explores the impact of leadership, capacity and capability on workforce mental wellbeing and what employers need to consider. This framework is now being tested prior to piloting, which will consist of in-depth testing among one or several NHS organisations. The project is expected to run until 2023.

Access Workforce Stress and the Supportive Organisation - A framework for improvement through reflection, curiosity and change




HEE has commissioned the National Workforce Skills Development Unit to produce a suite of reports exploring mental health careers. This includes: attitudes towards mental health careers in the NHS, supporting promotion of mental health careers and developing psychology graduate career pathways and psychology graduates and mental health nursing.

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