Education mental health practitioner
Education mental health practitioners (EMHPs) work across education and healthcare to provide mental health support for children and young people in schools and colleges.
You’ll be trained to help children and young people manage common mental health problems, particularly mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety and depression, and behaviour problems.
Life as an education mental health practitioner
You’ll also be trained to support schools and colleges with whole-organisation approaches to mental health and wellbeing. This role supports the Government's priority of increasing access to and availability of mental health and wellbeing support for children and young people.
- advise on sleep hygiene, problem solving and panic attacks
- educate young people in how to manage anxiety and depression
- promote approaches that improve emotional health and wellbeing
- advise education staff and signpost further information to ensure they can give children and young people the right support
How much can I earn?
There are nine pay bands and you’ll usually be paid at band 4 while you train. After completing your training you’ll be paid at band 5 with the opportunity to progress with experience.
Terms and conditions can vary if you are employed outside the NHS.
How about the benefits?
- make a difference
- work flexible and part-time hours
- fully funded training plus a salary while you train and a job in the service when you qualify
- an excellent pension scheme
- NHS discounts in shops and restaurants
- excellent interpersonal skills
- the ability to build close, trusting and productive relationships with children and young people
- a good understanding of the education system
- to be able work well within a multidisciplinary team
- a good understanding of mental health issues
- strong written and verbal communication skills, tailored to a variety of audiences
- to be able to work independently and use initiative to think quickly on the spot – often in challenging situations
- creativity to solve problems and tackle obstacles
- effective time management for tight deadlines and managing competing demands
- good presentation skills
- additional languages
- knowledge of the school and education system
Although you don’t need a degree to apply for this training programme, you’ll need to demonstrate your ability to work at degree level and have experience of working with children and young people to support their mental health.
The training is NHS funded and you are guaranteed a job as part of a mental health support team in a school or college once you’ve qualified. Courses typically consist of about 60 days of university, spread across a year. The remainder of your time will be spent in work-based placements, along with some self-study time.
EMHPs can now register with the British Psychological Society (BPS) or the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). The register opened in April 2023 and all EMHPs will need to comply with the national requirement for registration by April 2024. The BPS and BABCP websites have all the details about how the registration process works, including the annual renewal requirement.
How to become an education mental health practitioner
While training, your 12-month university course will combine:
- academic and theory elements delivered by a university within your region
- work-based placements in, for example, schools and/or colleges, special schools or pupil referral units
The teams work in primary, secondary and further education settings and consist of:
- a team of EMHPs (usually four)
- higher-level therapists and senior staff, some of whom will undertake specific training to act as EMHP supervisors
- a service lead or team manager, who may manage more than one MHST across a region
- administrative support
Where a career as an education mental health practitioner can take you
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