Enhanced workforce strategies and training schedules can be used to build skills and knowledge, influence attitudes and behaviours and deliver more holistic, personalised and coordinated care. This section contains information and links to resources in this section that support workforce development. 

Planning for workforce development and training

Focusing on skills for delivering high-quality screening and interventions will help improve risk identification and close gaps in prevention, diagnosis and treatment for people living with severe mental illness (SMI).

“There has never been a more important time to work in mental health. There is a genuine consensus that mental health matters as much as physical health and it is one of only four priority areas that will benefit from additional resource needed to deliver real improvements for those who access services.”

Stepping Forward to 2020/21: Mental Health Workforce Plan for England – Health Education England

To date, workforce development has emphasised improving core knowledge and skills in physical health screening to prevent diseases. This is too narrow. Focusing on disease prevention and management is unlikely to empower staff to consider wide-ranging factors that impact on physical health, such as social determinants.

Training should support staff to have confidence to take a more holistic approach. They should work creatively and positively with service users to identify personalised solutions. Along with achieving gold standard health treatments, this will enable staff to develop personalised care plans for the interventions needed for people living with SMI.

Recommended actions to take

We have developed key recommendations that will support system change and effectively address the serious mental illness (SMI) mortality gap. Follow the links for more information and tools to support you:

Tools to use

Stepping forward to 2020/21: The mental health workforce plan for England. This Health Education England document identifies a national workforce model as a framework to support local workforce plans. It highlights the need for additional staff required to deliver the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.

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