The Educational Mental Health Practitioner (EMHP) is a new professional role and an exciting opportunity to deliver evidence-based early interventions for children and young people and parents/carers in educational settings. It is a full time, year-long employment training programme on completion of which, trainees will qualify as an EMHP, one of the key roles in Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs).
This programme is part of the national Children and Young People’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (CYP IAPT) transformation programme, a shared initiative between the Department for Education and Health Education England that supports the government’s priority to increase access of mental health and well-being support for children and young people.
The training is accessed through employment within an existing NHS, Local Authority or Voluntary Sector mental health service working within CAMHS. The course will follow a blended learning approach with some teaching online and some face-to-face in small groups, including workshops and seminars.
The training will be delivered as part of lectures, seminars, and skills sessions; allowing EMHPs to put the skills they have learnt into practice as part of role plays and group discussions. Over the course of the year the training will focus on:
- Fundamental Skills: CYP Mental Health Settings: Context and Values
- Fundamental Skills: Assessment and Engagement
- Evidence Based Interventions: Theory and Skills
- Working, engaging, and assessing in educational settings
- Common problems and processes in educational settings
- Interventions for emerging mental health difficulties in educational settings
What is an EMHP?
EMHPs are the core workforce of MHSTs and are specifically trained to provide:
- Evidence-based interventions for mild-to-moderate mental health and emotional wellbeing issues.
- Support to the senior mental health lead in each school or college to introduce or develop their whole setting approach.
- Timely advice to staff in schools and colleges, and liaison with external specialist services, to help children and young people to get the right support and stay in education.
EMHPs will be trained over the course of a year to offer brief, focused evidence-based interventions in the form of low intensity support and guided self-help to young people who demonstrate mild to moderate:
- anxiety (primary and secondary school age)
- low mood (adolescents)
- common behavioural difficulties (working with parents for under 8s)
What is an MHST?
MHSTs are designed to help meet the mental health needs of children and young people aged between five and 18. These 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 regional area.
- Administrative support.
EMHPs will be supervised throughout your training year and beyond and receive support from experienced staff members who have undertaken EMHP supervision training.
On successful completion of their training, EMHPs will develop the necessary knowledge and skills to offer low intensity evidence-based interventions for mild to moderate mental health difficulties and provide emotional wellbeing support directly to schools.
EMHP trainees’ salaries are funded at NHS Band 4 level and will involve direct practice, working across a range of educational settings as well as the university-based teaching days. Upon completion of the training, trainees will remain employed within their service and proceed to the NHS Band 5 pay scale. The course fee is covered by HEE funding pending a successful application process. As this is a government funded course with employment placements, prospective candidates must be able to access home fees.
EMHPs who would like to progress in their profession and deepen their knowledge and their low intensity clinical skillset can access the two-year Senior Wellbeing Practitioner (SWP) training. Alternatively, they can proceed to go onto the Supervisors course (PG Cert Supervision: Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing Services) and move into more senior practitioner roles supervising, mentoring and training trainee and qualified EMHPs within their MHSTs.
The British Psychological Society (BPS) and the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) are now providing registration schemes for EMHPs and are in the process of registering the EMHP role with the national training providers. The professional accreditation for the low intensity workforce provides quality assurance and professional recognition of these important occupations.
Who can apply?
UCL requests the following in relation to the EMHP training programme:
- A minimum of a second-class bachelor’s degree (2:1 or 2:2) from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard is required (in any academic subject).
- Evidence of prior experience working with children and young people is preferred.
- If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. The English language requirement for this programme is: Good.
- Home fee status.
Although not essential, it is preferable if applicants demonstrate a broad understanding of mental health and emotional wellbeing issues combined with an ability to form a good helping relationship with children and young people facing such problems.
Each MHST service will have specific requirements for their EMHP trainee roles. Please pay particular attention to the person specification of the post you are applying for.
When can I apply?
The next intake at UCL/AFC will start in Autumn 2023.
How do I apply?
Any students applying for this programme need to also secure a relevant EMHP trainee post with a MHST service that is linked to UCL. See how this works here.
You will apply for the training post with a MHST service just as you would with any other job application. Additionally, you will be expected to make a separate application to the university to secure your place.
When you apply for a trainee post, there will be guidance embedded into the advert about applying for the university course – you will need to apply to both the job and the university to be shortlisted for the role.
Candidates interested in the EMHP programme are advised to regularly monitor the CYP MH Workforce Development webpage and NHS jobs for further information.
EMHP job adverts are expected to go live on sites such as NHSJobs, healthjobsuk.com, trac.jobs and organisation websites via the different NHS CYP services and directly by Local Authority or Third Sector services.
We recommend setting up automatic job searches/notifications with the following terms:
- ‘Mental health practitioner’
- ‘Education practitioner’
Where will I be based?
Delivery of the UCL programme will be provided through a combination of taught days at the Anna Freud Centre, independent self-directed study days, as well as through working directly with children, young people, parents/carers, and educational settings.
EMHPs work in the locality of their MHST service of employment and where they work depends on where the job that they apply for is advertised. Partnering schools will be based within this locality and travel to these locations will be required.
Sites for the UCL Autumn 2023 intake include:
Islington, Enfield, Newham, Redbridge, Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Kensington & Chelsea, Hounslow, Mid and South Essex.
For more information about the EMHP programme, please view our prospective candidate FAQ.
For all enquiries related to the course, please contact email@example.com.
If you like, you can sign up to our mailing list to be informed of developments and receive notification of advertised roles.
For further information about the programme, including content and structure, or to make an application, please visit the UCL website.