Primary care graduate mental health worker
Primary care graduate mental health workers provide support for people with common mental health services, primarily in GP surgeries and clinics.
This page has information on the role of a primary care graduate mental health worker, the entry requirements, skills needed and how to apply.
It is estimated that one in four GP consultations are with people with mental health problems. Your role will vary between employers but typically it will involve:
- supporting brief interventions and self-help for people with common mental disorders eg clients with anxiety or panic attacks
- promoting positive mental health and the importance of addressing mental ill-health
- improving information available for patients about mental health
- strengthening the knowledge in the GP practice or clinic about the resources available to people with mental health problems.
Where will I work?
You’ll work primarily in primary care settings such as GP surgeries and clinics. You’ll work with a range of other mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, mental health nurses, art therapists, dramatherapists, music therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and social workers.
Primary care graduate mental health workers are different from primary care mental health workers. These are professionally qualified workers - such as nurses, social workers or psychologists - working mainly in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). They would have also undertaken specific educational programmes.
Entry requirements and training
You’ll typically be either a new graduate of a relevant subject (eg psychology) or with relevant work experience (eg in a health and/or social care setting). Some employers may specify experience of working in mental health or with people with disabilities.
A postgraduate educational programme is offered by a number of universities. Typically, successful candidates will study for the Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Mental Health Care Practice.
- knowledge of mental health issues
- good communication skills, including being able to listen
- good team working skills and to be able to work on your own
- the ability to put people at ease
- excellent time management skills
- Pay and conditions Expand / Collapse
Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales. This pay system covers all staff except doctors, dentists and the most senior managers.
Primary care graduate mental health workers will usually start at band 5 but you should check with the employer. You’ll usually work standard hours of 37.5 per week. Terms and conditions can vary for employers outside of the NHS.
- Where the role can lead Expand / Collapse
- Job market and vacancies Expand / Collapse
If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the values of the NHS Constitution apply in your everyday work. The same will be true if you are applying for a university course funded by the NHS.
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