Approved Mental Health Professional have a unique position within statutory mental health settings and the AMHP course attracts high quality professionals who are committed to working with people in acute mental distress at a time of crisis. By the end of the course candidates must be able to work autonomously and sensitively within the relevant legislative framework. Successful candidates achieve a Post Graduate Certificate: Approved Mental Health Professional and are then eligible to be considered for approval by their Local Authorities as AMHPs.
The UEA works closely with Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils to run The Approved Mental Health Professional programme at UEA as AMHPs can only work in this specialist role if approved by a Local Authority (The Mental Health (Approved Mental Health Professionals) (Approval) (England) Regulations 2008 Statutory Instrument No 1206).
Professional social workers, nurses working in the area of learning disability or mental health, occupational therapists and clinical psychologists who are registered with their professional body are permitted within the regulations to train to become AMHPs and the AMHP course at UEA is open to suitably qualified individuals from any of these professions. In order to be eligible for the programme candidates must have the equivalent of at least 2 years post qualifying experience in their chosen profession (by the start of the course), be registered by their professional body, be able to demonstrate an ability to practice within a complex professional environment associated with mental distress and demonstrate some potential to write effectively for the assessed work on the programme.
Prior to the commencement of the course applicants will also need to undertake a preparatory module (SWK M437, Policy, Practice and Evidence in Mental Health). This preparatory module has been developed as a result of discussions between Norfolk County Council, Suffolk County Council and UEA to enable candidates to develop their knowledge and understanding of mental health and their writing at Masters level prior to commencing the core AMHP modules. Once registered as a student the resources at the Student Support Service are also available to assist those wishing to develop their academic skills and for those who have additional learning needs.
Candidates on the course are normally sponsored by their Local Authority for the preparatory module and their AMHP training and information sessions about the course are held within local agencies during the winter period prior to application in the spring. Potential applicants should be alert to information provided through local agencies about these days, but can also contact the Programme Director, Gill Whadcoat, (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions concerning the information sessions. Independent candidates (ie not sponsored by their Local Authority) should also attend the information sessions and be prepared to fund the course independently, including the cost of the placement. The cost of this will vary from year to year and questions about cost can be addressed to Gill Whadcoat.
Those who wish to apply for the course will need to undertake and write up at least one experience of shadowing a Mental Health Act assessment and should contact their local AMHP Lead Professionals in order to undertake this activity. Applicants are also required to prepare an additional piece of work on their professional development linked to mental health. Written guidance on these pieces is provided by the Programme Director, Gill Whadcoat and Local Authority representatives also have access to this guidance. These pieces of written work are submitted with the application form. The admissions panel will be looking for an individual's ability/potential ability to write about complex practice and ideas as well as the actual content of the writing. Applicants with a disability are asked to indicate this in the application process in order to enable the selection and interviewing process to be conducted fairly.
Applications are submitted in late spring and candidates who meet the criteria above are invited for interview by a panel, which can include a service user and representatives from UEA School of Social Work, Local Authority and the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust. The interview will last about 40 minutes and will involve a series of questions to explore a candidate's knowledge, skills, values and aptitude. The preparatory module starts in the autumn semester and the Post Graduate Certificate: Approved Mental Health Professional starts in February.
For those undertaking the preparatory module in addition to the PG Certificate the modules comprise the following:
- SWK M437: Policy, Practice and Evidence in Mental Health 20 credits (preparatory module, autumn, part time)
- SWK M430 AMHP module 1 20 credits (core module, spring, full time February – end May)
- SWK M432 AMHP module 2 40 credits (core module, spring, full time February – end May)
Having completed these modules (minimum of the 2 core AMHP modules) candidates will be eligible to be considered for approval as AMHPs by the Local Social Services Authority. This final stage in the approvals process can legally only be undertaken by the Local Social Services Authority (The Mental Health (Approved Mental Health Professionals) (Approval) (England) Regulations 2008 Statutory Instrument No 1206) and Approvals Boards normally sit in the summer following the completion of the course.
Students who fail any of the modules are normally offered a reassessment opportunity in accordance with standard University procedures. Sponsoring agencies are not obliged to cover the cost of this, but will normally do so unless there are particular reasons for withdrawing the funding. Sponsoring agencies are always informed of any fail (as well as passes) and students should contact their agency representative with any query regarding their funding.
At the conclusion of the process students will receive a Post Graduate Certificate: AMHP using the 60 credits from the 2 AMHP modules.
MA Mental Health
Candidates who have taken the PG Certificate: Approved Mental Health Professional and the preparatory module (SWK M437) (gaining a total of 80 credits) may wish to continue their studies can take (or use, if already completed) 40 credits at Masters Level from either
- The Social Work Continuing Professional Development Programme
- Continuing Professional Development modules in another relevant School (eg Nursing, Allied Health, MED)
On completing these additional 40 credits candidates can receive a Post Graduate Diploma: Mental Health (ie 120 credits).
Those who wish to complete a full MA Mental Health will then need to undertake the following final 2 modules:
- PSY- M417 Research Methods 1: Design and Professional Skills 20 credits
- SWK- M426 Applied Dissertation 40 credits
The total number of credits for the MA Mental Health is 180 (see links to diagrams below for routes through) and APL/APCL processes can apply where appropriate: http://www.uea.ac.uk/calendar/section3/regs(gen)/apl_apel-policy