The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 29 November 2013



Bailey, D. (2013), "Editorial", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 8 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-10-2013-0032



Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Volume 8, Issue 4.

23 September 2013 saw the launch in London of the final report of the Mental Health Foundation's year long inquiry into the future of mental health services. Professor Peter Ryan and myself as editors of this journal were asked, through the “call for evidence” to provide the panel with an expert report on the future of mental health education and training to inform the inquiry.

Readers of this journal may be interested to learn that the aims of the inquiry were to:

  • review the provision of mental health services in the light of current and future health and socio-economic changes;

  • promote debate on the aims and ambitions of services; and

  • consider how to make mental health services fit for purpose to deal with the challenges over the next 20-30 years.

In all, 13 key messages, reflecting six themes were identified from an extensive, national call for evidence, to which over 500 people responded.

What is clear from the inquiry is the very welcome message that people with mental health issues are seen as the heart of the solution, and certainly Peter and I emphasised the importance of service user involvement in the design, delivery and planning of mental health education and workforce development. The pivotal role played by peers in supporting others with mental health needs was clearly identified by the inquiry and supported by the previous edition of this journal 8.3, which was guest edited by our colleague Thurstine Basset.

Primary care as the first port of call for support is particularly highlighted in Starting Today. The message to GPs is that they need to increase their knowledge of mental health to match that of physical health issues. GPs also need to be able to sign-post patients quickly to specialist mental health services and work collaboratively with colleagues in these services to deliver more integrated care. The need for different and integrated disciplinary contributions in specialist services is also highlighted, and in particular that mental health professionals should work collaboratively, and in partnership with service users.

This edition of the journal reflects the importance of contributions from different mental health professions and disciplines.

Bonsaksen et al. focus on practice learning for occupational therapy students, preparing to work in mental health services. The importance of communication and interaction skills emerged as key capabilities from their study.

Focusing on clinical psychologists in specialist crisis resolution services, Murphy et al. highlight the value of the clinical psychology contribution in multidisciplinary working particularly in advanced assessments, clinical leadership and in personal and professional development.

Turning to social work O’Hare and colleagues focus on the mental health social work role in implementing mental health law and how this is may be executed differently across the UK.

Two papers in this edition offer a multidisciplinary perspective on specific issues. Smythe et al. focus on the competencies all staff require when they are working in a specialist dementia service while Hungerford looks at how recovery approaches could be introduced into a public mental health service is Australia.

The key message that was launched in the National Service Framework for Mental Health in 1999 and is re-emphasised by Starting Today in 2013 is that mental health professionals need to continue to learn and work together with service users, their families and carers to share what works in preventing mental illness and promoting recovery. As those who have direct experience of using mental health services are increasingly encouraged to take up peer support and other workforce roles the value of interdisciplinary mental health education and training is without doubt.

I feel very privileged that through my role as Editor in Chief of this journal I am able to contribute towards the body of literature that testifies to the richness of mental health education, training and practice and its pivotal role in supporting the future development of mental health services.

A copy of Starting Today can be accessed at: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/starting-today-future-of-mental-health-services/

Di Bailey

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