The word “section” is a fearful word to most people but to Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs) who routinely face this most challenging of decisions, i.e. when should a patient be sectioned? It is the end of a series of carefully considered decisions.
Continuing World Social Work Day discussions we learn more about the highly-recommended training course, run jointly by Leeds City Council Adult Social Care and the Leeds Metropolitan University, which provides AMHPs with the necessary experience and support they need to make this decision.
First of all, what is an Approved Mental Health Professional?
An AMHP is a social worker, mental health nurse, occupational therapist or psychologist who has completed additional training to be approved by the Local Authority and to fulfil designated functions under the Mental Health Act (MHA) (1983). This can include assessing whether a person needs to be compulsorily detained into hospital as part of their treatment plan.
An AMHP is also responsible for ensuring that the human and civil rights of a person being detained under the Mental Health Act are respected and upheld. At the current time, Leeds has 75 AMHPs and continues to monitor its workforce in order to ensure it has sufficient numbers to fulfil its statutory duties.
Tell me more about the course?
The PG certificate Mental Health Practice (AMHPs ) course is run in partnership by Leeds Metropolitan University and Leeds City Council / Leeds Adults Social Care and covers west and south Yorkshire. The course runs from February to October. Academically speaking it is a master’s level course. Prospective students, who are required to have two years prior experience in the field, are asked to give an expression of interest and then attend an open day where they undergo a rigorous selection process. The students spend eight weeks at the Leeds Metropolitan University and then 12 weeks in a work placement. The placement offers new experiences so if they’ve worked in an area office their placement will be in community mental health. Students are given lots of support through a practice educator, who is also an AMHP and a mentor who is an even more experienced AMHP who works with Leeds Metropolitan University. All of the lecturers and speakers involved with the course have extensive experience of working in the Mental Health field, including many who are still practicing.
The regulation of AMHPs is new for the Health and Care Professions Council, which regulates health, psychological and social work professionals. Their expert inspectors recommended the course for complete approval with no conditions.
Christian Walsh, Professional Lead – Mental Health said “I am proud that the course has received such high accolades as it completely supports my own perspective that we are producing AMHPs who are of the highest standard. Only 6% of such courses in the whole of the country receive this level of endorsement. ” He added “one of the expert inspectors told me they would “come on the course anytime.”
Head of Social Work, Leeds Metropolitan University, Lorraine Agu said:
I am delighted that the Health and Care Professions Council recommended this course for approval. The visitors met with senior managers from organisations, service users and carers, current and past students, practice educators and members of the teaching team. The visitors highlighted that it was rare for courses to be approved without any conditions and I believe that this reflects the high standards of education and training which is delivered.”
It is expected that the HCPC Education and Training Panel will ratify this decision later this month.
Maxine Naismith, Head of Service – Learning Disabilities, Transitions, Emergency Duty Team and Mental Health, Leeds City Council, also added: “I am delighted to see such positive feedback for Leeds via such a robust and rigorous process. The training and provision of AMHPs is a high priority in Leeds and the role is critical in ensuring that the most vulnerable and ill people receive the correct services and safeguards.”
To find out more about this course look here https://courses.leedsmet.ac.uk/mentalhealth_pgcert or social work in general here https://courses.leedsmet.ac.uk/socialwork