Building on the mental health support workforce to meet service requirements

This project (2020/21) is looking to better understand the mental health support workforce, especially those in non-registered patient facing roles without clear career pathways. 

The project outputs will be:

  • An evidence review looking at national data, policies, job descriptions and adverts (independently commissioned)
  • Insights from the mental health support workforce via a national survey (independently commissioned)
  • A toolkit - aimed at those responsible for workforce planning - bringing together resources, templates, guidance, frameworks, case studies, examples of best practice etc



August 2021


The Nuffield Trust's report: 'Untapped? Understanding the mental health clinical support workforce'

The Nuffield Trust (an independent health think tank) worked with us to complete a review of national evidence related to the mental health support workforce. This included analysing information such as NHS staff survey data, advertised vacancy and application numbers, comparison of job adverts and person specifications, looking at staff numbers and demographics as well as conducting a literature review. 

This report has now been published


July 2021


Kings College London: National survey of the mental health support workforce

Kings College London is working with us to run a national survey of the mental health support workforce. The aim is to better understand their experience of the role, careers, development and progression opportunities. The survey was open May - June 2021 and the results are now being analysed and a report will be produced. Follow us on social media or get in touch to be informed when it is published. 




Who are the mental health support workforce?

The mental health clinical support staff includes a variety of different roles and work with a huge range of people, services and settings - there are some 96 unique job titles in the electronic staff records and just over 41,000 full time equivalents working in mental health services! They broadly fall into three categories:

1.   Trainees who are employed as clinical support while they are seeking to become part of the qualified workforce (e.g. Trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners)

2.   Roles that require advanced or further education - roles may, or may not, be registered with a professional body (e.g. Nursing Associate)

3.   Roles that usually work within defined boundaries, typically under the supervision of a registered professional (e.g. Healthcare Assistants)

This project is specifically interested in roles where there is no clear career pathway, so those who mainly fall within the third category. These typically are band 2-4, professional regulation does not exist and if they have any academic entry requirements it would not be above a level 3.


Why would you be interested in this project?

You’re responsible for workforce management of the mental health support workforce:

  • There will be practical solutions to some of the workforce issues and recruitment gaps that you have
  • You will get national insights to a large untapped workforce that you can benchmark your experience against
  • An opportunity to showcase the good work your organisation does in this area, supporting others in maximising the potential of this workforce
  • Hear the views of the workforce to better understand how you can begin or build on your workforce plans

You’re responsible at a national or regional level for mental health workforce planning:

  • An additional resource for ensuring the workforce of today and tomorrow has the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours, at the right time and in the right place

You're part of the mental health support workforce:

  • An opportunity to have your voice heard as a collective – an overdue spotlight on your skills, experience and knowledge
  • Chance to share nationally what your goals are at work, if you are provided with the tools to achieve this and if not, what you need those responsible to hear
  • The prospect of your organisations workforce plans being closer aligned to what you want
  • Hear how others experience the same roles you do, nationwide 


Get involved!



If you would like more information about this project, email Hannah Poupart or Atiya Fazalbhai 


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