The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 29 March 2013



Bailey, D. and Ryan, P. (2013), "Editorial", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 8 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/jmhtep.2013.55508aaa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Volume 8, Issue 1

This edition of the journal while not a “themed” edition, covers a range of topics of interest which are relevant to the debate around new roles and ways of working in mental health (NWW). While this initiative has been underway in the UK since 2003 the papers included in this edition of the journal indicate that similar developments are taking place internationally. The NWW progress report (Department of Health, 2007) continues to emphasise NWW as an initiative to promote qualified staff extending their practice to ensure best use of the current workforce to meet the needs of service users. The involvement of service users in the education and development of staff continues to be regarded as best practice and examples are evident from the collection of papers in this edition where this is working well.

To begin Sandra Cleminson gives an interesting account of how occupational therapy (OT) students in one particular course have benefited from service user involvement that has gone beyond a sharing of narratives about how mental illness can affect the individual, to influencing how OT students construe their professional role. The active involvement of service users has challenged the OT students to develop more collaborative relationships with those using their services to facilitate a more pro-active approach towards recovery.

Two articles in this edition explore innovative aspects of clinical psychologists’ work in practice. Lea and colleagues’ article describes an interesting piece of reflective qualitative research, using focus groups, seminars and group discussions, which charts a way through what the authors, call the “clinical psychology swamp”. It addresses the issue of respecting and maintaining personal and professional boundaries in order to meet the challenges in managing and coping with the work-life balance. The authors recommend collaborative partnerships between trainees, staff and service users as a means of learning, researching and bringing about effective change within mental health training.

Exploring whether a traditional core element of the psychiatrists’ role, the prescription of medication, can be undertaken by other professional groups has been the subject of some discussion since NWW was introduced. While nurse prescribing has for some years been common practice in the UK, an interesting paper by Andrew Newman debates the feasibility of extending the role of prescribing to clinical psychologists. Refreshingly, this article goes back to some of the core questions underlying prescribing practice, and explores what in the first place are some of the core drivers underlying non-medical prescribing. Newman also considers, whether within this context it makes sense to train clinical psychologists in the UK to undertake this role.

The final two articles in this edition explore new emerging roles, and their training implications further afield. From an Australian perspective Nicole Shepherd describes how Australian states have encouraged non-government organisations to develop a variety of services including advocacy, support groups and in-home support for people with mental health difficulties, many of whom have had no prior exposure to the mental health field. This article focuses on the training challenges for these home-based disability support workers and the effective development of this new role.

Finally Abigail Nelson describes from an American perspective, the emergence of a new role – “wellness coaching” and its integration into mainstream mental health services. Nelson gives a fascinating insight into how mental health promotion is developing a presence within mainstream services and how American mental health organisations have begun to incorporate wellness and wellness coaching initiatives into existing services as well as through staff training programmes. The article describes how this approach is providing new learning opportunities for front line staff, expanding their professional repertoire of skills, and leading to new opportunities for professional development.

Taken together these papers suggest that the NWW agenda for change in mental health services internationally is being recognised and developed promoting innovation in the way new roles are being created and the training to support them developed. This bodes well for service users’ experiences of care delivery and for workforce retention and job satisfaction.

Di Bailey, Peter Ryan


Department of Health (2007), Mental Health New Ways of Working for Everyone: Progress Report, Department of Health, London

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