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Mental health resources and guides

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

This page will be updated regularly with a selection of our latest mental health resources.  Information, tools and guidance to support mental health education, training and workforce transformation.

Building the Mental Health Support Worker Toolkit 

A new toolkit to support services to increase the number of mental health clinical support staff by over 6,000 has been launched. 

The toolkit brings together, all in one place, guidance on workforce planning, recruitment, induction, day to day management, learning and development and career planning with useful case studies and examples of best practice included.  

 Professor Mark Radford, Head of Nursing at Health Education England, said:   

“Mental health clinical support staff are a vital part of any multidisciplinary mental health team, caring for patients and service users.   

“HEE’s new toolkit is for provider organisations looking to employ more Mental Health Clinical Support Workers with practical help to enable them to recruit and develop staff for the benefit of services and patients.”  

Good practice in developing new workforce roles

Good practice in developing new workforce roles is a suite of resources that have been built on good working practice. They advise workforce designers when modelling supply and demand, whilst supporting NHS and Social Care employers, creating sustainable new roles that are worthwhile and offer good career opportunities for the staff filling them. The resources are on our e-Learning for Healthcare website

Films have also been developed to capture key lessons learned around the development and implementation of new roles. They introduce and outline headlines from the new role seminars on supporting workforce planners and leaders.


 Workforce Stress and the Supportive Organisation Framework

The Workforce Stress and the Supporting Organisation framework which was originally launched by Health Education England (HEE) in April 2019 has now been reviewed and updated.

The newly updated Workforce Stress and the Supportive Organisation – A framework for improvement through reflection, curiosity and change encourages employers to take a closer look at the systems they currently have in place for managing staff wellbeing,  it challenges them to give greater consideration to the impact  workforce stress has on staff and look at the role they can play in providing better support to staff who may need it.

Health Education England originally 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 same organisation has been commissioned to undertake the review and update the content, taking special consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had and continues to have on NHS staff.

It also talks about the impact of leadership, capacity and capability on workforce mental wellbeing and what employers need to consider.

HEE is committed to an NHS where staff and learners are happy and feel fulfilled in their work, where they look forward to going to work and are proud of the care they provide to their patients. There is good evidence that happy staff are more compassionate and provide safer care.

toolkit to help people implement the framework is also available.

An accessible version of the framework is also available. Workforce Stress and the Supportive Organisation - Accessible version

An accessible version of the implementation toolkit is also available. Implementing the Framework - Accessible version

For further information visit https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/mental-health 


Physical Health Competency Framework for Mental Health and Learning Disability Settings

Our refreshed Physical Health Competency Framework for Mental Health and Learning Disability Settings has now been published.

This framework incorporates elements of the knowledge and skills needed for registered clinical staff working in mental healthcare and/or learning disability settings to be able to meet the physical health needs of service users with serious mental illness and/or service users with a learning disability. 

This framework:

- does not supersede previous policies or protocols; enhances existing procedures

- can be used to aid recruiting or in a team discussion to improve awareness and training

- is designed to be accessed and used by all in a mental health capacity.

Older People’s Mental Health Competency Framework

Our refreshed Older People’s Mental Health Competency Framework has been published. This framework supports the delivery of excellent services across disciplines which are directly or indirectly involved in supporting and promoting older people’s mental health.

This framework:

- does not supersede previous policies or protocols; enhances existing procedures

- can be used to aid recruiting or in a team discussion to improve awareness and training

- designed to be accessed and used by all in a mental health capacity.

Mental health core skills 

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.

Prescribing Competency Implementation Guidance for Mental Health 

We have developed a practical, accessible guidance document that supports prescribers to follow the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) Prescribing Competency Framework and apply this in a mental health context.

Core mental health competency framework for all pharmacy professions

A coherent and aligned national framework of core mental health competencies for all pharmacy professions was developed and linked to the development of rotational and training placements for the pharmacy workforce.

Competency framework for perinatal mental health

HEE commissioned the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust to develop a competency framework for health and care professionals who work with people in the perinatal period, their families and loved ones. The framework aims to build perinatal mental health capability in the workforce, by identifying the skills required and helping care teams to assess their training needs. It’s suitable for everyone, from informal carers and general practice staff, right through the pathway to specialist mental health mother and baby units.

The Psychological Interventions for People with Eating Disorders Competency Framework

The framework was commissioned by and developed in partnership with HEE and is designed to be accessed online and downloaded from the University College London (UCL) website

Mental health training directories

Increasing access to mental health services is an NHS priority and as such we need to train and develop the workforce wherever possible. The training directories in the Related Documents section below contain a variety of courses and resources provided by universities, colleges and other specialist organisations. These vary in terms of duration, assessment and modality. 


Public Mental Health Training Directory and Quality Marker Checklist

This Public Health Training Directory presents the current provision of mental health training programmes available in England for a range of target audiences. Its purpose is to support commissioners of health and care services and education, workforce development and organisational development professionals by highlighting available educational resources to improve practice as part of public mental health at a population level. The Quality Marker Checklist is a guide to the evaluation of existing public mental health training programmes and informs the design of new training programmes.

Mental health career information

Providing mental health care is vital and we need our mental health workforce now more than ever. The mental health sector is rapidly expanding and are looking for more dedicated and talented people to join our ranks. We have the ambition to grow our workforce by more than 27,000 people by 2023/24.

A role in mental health can bring the opportunity to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society and make a real difference to patients, their families and whole communities.

There has never been a better time to join the mental health sector. Visit the Working for the NHS in mental health webpage or  Health Career website for information on roles and trainings, and NHS Jobs for currently available positions.

Mental health career resources

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.