Primary care graduate mental health worker

Psychological wellbeing practitioner

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Primary care graduate mental health workers give treatment and support to people with mental health problems.

Salary range: £24,214 to £43,772

How to become a primary care graduate mental health worker

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • applying directly


You could do a degree in psychology or health and social care, and then apply for a place on a postgraduate training course.

After your degree, you’ll be employed in the health service and complete Improving Access to Psychological Therapy training, approved by the British Psychological Society.

This 12-month course is made up of 1 day of academic study and 4 days of supervised practice each week.

Entry requirements

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

Volunteering and experience

You’ll usually need paid or voluntary experience of working with people who have mental health issues or people with disabilities. You can contact the voluntary services co-ordinator or manager at your local NHS trust about work experience opportunities.

Direct application

You can apply directly if you’ve got relevant skills and knowledge. Employers will look for:

  • qualifications in nursing, social work, occupational therapy, arts therapy or other psychological therapy
  • experience and training in cognitive behavioural therapy

You’ll complete an Improving Access to Psychological Therapy training course while you work.

More information

Career tips

Experience of working with people with mental health problems will be helpful.

Further information

You can find out more about working in primary mental health care from Health Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of psychology
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

You may need a driving licence for some jobs.

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • designing and running group therapy sessions
  • promoting good mental health in the community
  • signposting people to relevant services
  • keeping accurate and up-to-date patient care records
  • supporting and training other healthcare professionals
  • developing and setting up new mental health support services

Working environment

You could work at a health centre, at a client’s home or at a GP practice.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could train as a high intensity therapist, working with people with complex mental health needs.

You could also lead a team or develop new mental health services. 

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