From education to employment

New Mental Health Framework will increase quality and consistency of care

Skills for Health has today announced a new Core Skills Education and Training Framework for the mental health workforce, with the aim of increasing the quality and consistency of care in mental health services.

The Department of Health commissioned Health Education England, Skills for Health and Skills for Care to develop the framework as part of the cross-government strategy on mental health, No Health Without Mental Health. It will 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.

Prime Minister Theresa May recently announced a range of new measures to help “transform attitudes” to mental health, including increased training for teachers and employers, a review of support in the workplace and the provision of an additional £15million towards community-based care. However, such transformation cannot be achieved without an emphasis on workforce training and development.

Mental health services are delivered by a diverse and extensive workforce, and this new framework will determine standards for their education and training and help 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.

The framework will complement rather than replace existing materials, helping to bring together the training and resources currently available to create one consistent and coherent approach.

Setting out core training requirements will avoid duplication or repetition of training as individuals move between roles or organisations. It will also support increasing integration between health and social care services, helping improve communication, collaborative working, and providing opportunities for joint education and training.

John Rogers, Chief Executive, Skills for Health, said, “Quality of care is key to the wellbeing of people with mental health issues. This new framework outlines the knowledge and skills the workforce need to provide dedicated, high-quality care. 

“Employers or commissioners of training for this workforce are encouraged to use this framework to guide the development and delivery of appropriate, consistent education.  We believe that it will result in an increased quality of care for people with mental ill health  and their families.”

Professor Wendy Reid, National Director of Education and Quality and Medical Director, Health Education England, said, “During our careers, all of us in the health and social care sectors will come into contact with people suffering from mental ill health. It is therefore vital that education and training equips the workforce with the skills and knowledge to provide high-quality, person-centred, mental health care.

“This new framework will help commissioners and providers identify the core skills and knowledge required by teams at all levels across their services. By outlining the expected learning outcomes, it will underpin and enhance future education and training, which will in turn improve the quality of care received by anyone experiencing a mental health problem.”

Sharon Allen, chief executive, Skills for Care, said, “This framework, based on the best evidence and frontline expertise available, will actively support the learning and development needs of social care and health workers who support people with mental health issues.

“Skills for Care welcomes the framework’s innovative three tier approach that outlines the transferable core skills and knowledge needed by workers who have varying level of contact with people with mental health issues across many different services.”

Find out more about the Mental Health Core Skills Education and Training Framework here or download a PDF version here.

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