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Promoting Excellence In Psychological Health & Wellbeing

Education Mental Health Practitioner (EMHP)

Education mental health practitioners (EMHPs) are trained to assess and support children and young people (CYP) with common mental health difficulties, particularly mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and behavioural difficulties. They offer a range of Low Intensity interventions, primarily in a school or college setting, that are based on cognitive behavioural therapy and guided self-help. They aim to help CYP and their parents / carers in the self-management of their recovery in groups or in one-to-one meetings. EMHPs, in conjunction with the wider mental health support team (MHST), also support the delivery of school wide interventions to enhance CYP's wellbeing in education settings.

The new EMHP role provides a new resource to support children and young people who are experiencing common low-level mental health difficulties in an environment familiar to them. It is specifically aimed at meeting the needs of those who may not currently receive or be suitable for a specialist mental health services for children and young people. Managing referrals and signposting to other agencies with more serious problems (making sure CYP get to the right place for any support they need) is also a core part of the job role. EMHPs are employed within local MHSTs, which are part of the healthcare provision but are integrated within local partner educational settings. They provide early brief, evidence based interventions to promptly address emerging mental health needs of CYP. The role also entails supporting the school or college in initiatives aimed at preventing mental health problems by changing the school or college environment for CYP.

As a EMHP you will be working alongside other practitioners and are supervised in your work by more senior practitioners within the MHST. You will be part of a MHST, but working in an educational setting where you will be working closely with education and support staff and other healthcare professionals.

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Required Training for this Role

In order to be a qualified education mental health practitioner (EMHP) you will need to complete a Graduate / Post Graduate Diploma training course that is commissioned by Health Education England (HEE). Currently the training courses for EMHPs are not accredited, but this is currently being actively investigated. Training courses are offered by a number of universities and training providers. Course titles vary. They typically consist of 64 days of university based training distributed over an academic year, up to 12 months in duration. Whilst in training as a EMHP you will be employed by a local mental health support team and spend the majority of your time in the service working with children and young people (CYP), parents / carers and education staff as part of your supervised practice.

The training is designed to develop the clinical competencies and knowledge in order to proficiently practice as an EMHP, as determined by the relevant national curriculum for the EMHP Programme. Specifically, to develop skills in assessment, low intensity evidence-based interventions alongside the core competencies required to work with CYP presenting with anxiety, low mood and behavioural difficulties. The EMHP will also learn about the way schools and colleges function, and acquire key skills in auditing and supporting whole school approaches within an educational setting. This is to help promote whole school change and participation. The programme will also focus upon understanding ways to adapt clinical practice with children, young people and parents/carers to accommodate diversity and increase access to evidence-based psychological therapies. A strong emphasis throughout the programme is placed upon personal and professional development.

The EMHP role may develop further over time and it is also likely that an apprenticeship training route for EMHP will be developed in due course. EMHP training is a great opportunity for people without a degree but with relevant life experience, or for those who would like to make a career change and contribute to the local community.

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Entry Requirements to Train for this Role

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The education mental health practitioner (EMHP) training is open to people with a range of experience. Those with a degree will typically undertake a postgraduate diploma and those without a degree will normally undertake an equivalent undergraduate-level qualification. For both routes you will need to apply for a position as a trainee EMHP in a mental health support team to access the training. You can search for vacancies on the NHS jobs website(see useful links) or other local platforms.

Training places are open to either people from the local community, with a wide range of life experience who have maths and English skills; or graduates or those who can demonstrate that they can meet the academic requirements of the post graduate level qualification.

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Experience of working with children and young people (CYP) with mental health problems and of working in education settings is desirable. Excellent interpersonal skills are essential.

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Salary Expectations

The national Headline Plan outlines that trainee education mental health practitioners (EMHPs) will be appointed by the local mental health support team into a NHS Band 4 (or equivalent), with qualified EMHPs progressing up to NHS Band 5 or equivalent on qualification. In time the development of Senior EMHP roles would allow for the potential progression to Band 6 and above.

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Future Career Options

The role of education mental health practitioner (EMHP) is in development. In time, subject to national and regional developments, you may have opportunities to progress into more senior EMHP roles, where you may supervise other EMHPs, have management responsibilities within mental health support teams or develop clinical specialisms. As an EMHP it is an expectation that you will work in the role for a minimum of two years before you can progress into another NHS funded psychological professional training.

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Registering or Accrediting Body

There is currently no individual accreditation or registration scheme for education mental health practitioners (EMHPs), although this is being actively pursued at present and, it is intended, will be implemented retrospectively.

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Professional Organisation

Many trainee education mental health practitioners (EMHPs) and qualified EMHPs join the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) and/or the British Psychological Society (BPS).