This full-time postgraduate course meets the professional standards and requirements for the role of Approved Mental Health Professional (Mental Health Act 1983 amended 2007).
The principal aim of the programme is to prepare suitably qualified and experienced practitioners to undertake the role of Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) under the Mental Health Act 1983 (amended in 2007). Practitioners who successfully complete the programme can then be considered for professional warranting by their local authority as Approved Mental Health Professionals under the Mental Health Act. You can only act as an AMHP once you have been approved by a Local Social Services Authority (LSSA) in England.
This award includes a supervised practice placement (minimum of 45 days) with a suitably qualified and experienced practice assessor. The practice placement is organised and managed by the employing authority. The programme is delivered on campus and off campus at various locations which are agreed with the relevant employers. Timetables are produced on a local basis to reflect local needs. All students must attend all the taught sessions and complete the minimum 45 placement days. Additional guided stay days are built into the timetables and additional flexible study days are available during placement time.
In meeting the requirements of the Higher Specialist Social Work Award in Mental Health, the course also recognises the diversity of mental health social work and provides practitioners with the opportunity to develop and extend their knowledge and enhance their skills in dealing with complex work.
Learning includes a mix of interactive workshops, teaching sessions and facilitated group discussions. Input from those with lived experience of mental distress and carers will be central to student learning methods, and this is combined with individualised self-directed learning with flexibility in units to tailor learning to meet individual student needs.
Opportunities for experiential learning are provided in a supervised practice placement as required by the professional body. Assessment for the course will include completing a portfolio including a report by a practice assessor, based on observation of how you apply learning and competence in showing the requirements. A range of reflective assignments and a timed case study will also be included. There will also be some multiple-choice questionnaires to complete as part of your formative assessment.
MA Advanced Mental Health Practice
The programme also recognises the diversity of mental health practice and provides practitioners with the opportunity for further professional development by completion of a work-based project for the full Masters award.
If students decide to complete (transfer) to the full masters they will undertake the following additional Service Improvement Project units:
• Preparation for Service Improvement Project (PSIP) (20 credits)
• Service Improvement Project (SIP) (40 credits)
Please note additional funding is required for these units for the full Masters award.
This course requires 100% attendance.
Obviously, it is the employer’s responsibility to decide on the local pathway for AMHP preparation and how this will be supported, and some local areas have now got excellent robust pathway / preparation structures in place, which are working well to prepare and support applicants for AMHP training. The selection criteria for a place on AMHP programmes generally is the responsibility for the Social Work England approved University, however we have worked alongside all our partnership agencies to develop and maintain our own admission regulations and we work in partnership with agencies to undertake the selection process.
*Where an applicant is currently working in mental health (and has been for at least 6 months) and already has studied at masters level (and been awarded masters level credits), we will leave it to the agency to decide whether the applicant has sufficient evidence of professional practice and academic preparation for AMHP training and there is flexibility in this situation to whether the agency require them to complete DPSP.
In addition to the standard application form applicants are required to complete and upload a form containing a manager’s reference, personal statement, and critical reflection on an assessment. A copy of this form can be found on this webpage, under the 'Downloads' section on the right side of the page.
More recently at Bournemouth University we have been offering the masters level DPSP (Developing Professional Specialist Practice) unit as the method for applicants to provide the evidence to demonstrate that they have consolidated their practice and are suitable and ready for advanced practice and AMHP training. It provides an opportunity for individuals to reflect on their own practice, demonstrate their knowledge and skill base in mental health and to focus on the core value requirements and social perspective of mental disorder which are obviously central to AMHP practice. The unit allows us to have a standard and consistent portfolio unit which enables students to present their evidence, having had the opportunity to reflect on their own practice and demonstrate the knowledge and skill base in mental health. This masters level unit is now the recommended preparation as it assesses at the same academic level as the AMHP programme, giving employers a clearer indication about suitability or those who require more support and preparation in terms of their academic level.
Please note – The Bournemouth University Best Interest Assessor course (BIA) is equivalent to DPSP MH. Therefore, students who have completed the BU BIA course do not also need to do DPSP. The BU Risk Assessment and Decision-Making unit is also an equivalent unit and can be used instead of DPSP as long as the focus of the student’s submitted work is around mental health working. There is also an Evidencing Practice Learning unit that can be used in the same way as an alternative to DPSP.
For those who are coming from outside of mainstream mental health, the preparation pathway will need additional attention to ensure that these applicants are able to provide the necessary evidence for appropriate suitable mental health experience and more importantly to ensure that they are commencing AMHP training at the same starting point as those from mental health and not disadvantaged.
Consideration to the following areas may also help wider preparation with individuals:
We have found that where a structured pathway is followed that integrates all areas of preparation including pre-course training needs, shadowing, placement experience and DPSP, the students are much better prepared, are more able to demonstrate this at the selection process which draws all the above together and go on to undertake the AMHP training successfully. If you have any comments or questions in relation to this document, please do not hesitate to contact the Programme Support Team on firstname.lastname@example.org
The selection process consists of application and face to face interview undertaken locally. The interview panel consists of programme tutors, employer representatives and service user and carer contributors.
The selection process is regularly reviewed at programme management meetings and ensures that the entry criteria for the programme are satisfied and that it is conducted in line with the University admissions (taught programmes) policy and procedure, which includes the dignity, diversity and equal opportunities policy.
Please note – Employers may have any additional selection process that they undertake to confirm applicant suitability for nomination to the programme. Applicants should discuss this directly with their local agency AMHP training lead / agency representative.
Applicants must discuss with the agency representative any specific contractual arrangements that will apply to them regarding funding and progression throughout the programme, this should include a discussion with the employer about any employment implications should they not complete the programme.
General entry requirements
The normal requirements for embarking upon this course are:
A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in any subject, or equivalent. Applicants are normally expected to have at least one year of professional or management experience. Applicants for the programme must also meet the professional requirements set out in Schedule 1 of the Mental Health (AMHP) Regulations 2008 and hold a professional qualification in social work, nursing, occupational therapy or psychology and be currently registered to that profession as laid out in Schedule 1.
It will also be a course prerequisite that students:
If you lack the formal academic qualifications needed to enter a postgraduate or post-experience degree, there are several alternative routes to follow - some based on experience. Please contact the CPD Programme Support Team for more information:
International Entry Requirements
If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:
• IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component or equivalent.
Bournemouth University International College offers a number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes to prepare international students for postgraduate study at BU. Admission to the degree is guaranteed on successful completion of your course to the required level.
You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our study postgraduate entry requirements page.
Fees and funding:
You will need to pay or indicate employer support of payment for unit or course fees to the university.
Applicants should contact their employing organisation for further details.
The Faculty of Health & Social Sciences has contractual arrangements with NHS organisations, Local Authorities and the Pan-Dorset & Wiltshire Teaching Partnership for pre-paid places on specified modules. If you work within Dorset, Wiltshire and Somerset or Hampshire and Isle of Wight you may be able to access the pre-paid places. These arrangements allow organisations to nominate the staff they wish to send on each unit or course.
The pre-arranged agreements allow individuals, such as yourself, a route to access appropriate professional development opportunities that are seen as strategically important to your organisation (in consultation with your Line Manager/Education Co-ordinator). All requests for pre-paid places must first be agreed by your organisation prior to completing an application.