There are many roles in Community Health Mental Health Teams. Below is a list and a brief introduction of the roles.
All psychologists entitled to call themselves clinical psychologists must be registrant practitioner psychologists with the Health Professions Council (HPC), which is the regulator of health professionals. Chartered Psychologists are those who have fulfilled the criteria set down by the British Psychological Society (BPS). The BPS maintains a Register of Chartered Psychologists that is open and available to the public, both in written form and on line. Clinical psychologists are trained in psychological treatments. They will usually meet regularly with service users for a number of sessions to talk through problems and find ways of solving them.
Nurses in the CMHTs (CPNs) are registered with the Royal College of Nursing and work outside hospitals, usually visiting service users in their own homes, outpatients‟ departments or family doctors’ surgeries. CPNs can help people to talk through their problems and give them practical advice and support. They can also give medicines and monitor their effects. Some nurses have received extra training in particular problems and treatments, such as eating disorders and behaviour therapy and are sometimes called nurse therapists.
Occupational therapists (OTs) belong to the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and they help people to regain skills for service users‟ daily lives and help them to regain their self-confidence. This can be through doing practical things in a relaxed environment, or talking with other people in groups.
Pharmacists train for five years to become specialists in medicines and are registered under the professional body of Royal Pharmaceutical Society. As a part of a mental health team, they offer expert advice to doctors and nurses about the benefits and side-effects of different medications. They are also available to talk to patients and their carers about their medication and answer their questions.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor with special training in mental illnesses and emotional problems. They belong to the Royal college of Psychiatry. Each team has a consultant who has completed their professional training and is often involved in the first assessment of someone’s problems. They may also have training in psychotherapy.
Social workers are registered with the GSCC. They are an essential part of the CMHT, although they may be employed by the LA rather than the MHT. They may be able to help with financial and housing problems and play an important part in helping with child-care issues.
Approved Mental Health Professional
The Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) will usually be a social worker, but can be any member of the CMHT. They have had further training to equip them to assess if someone needs to be taken to hospital using the MHA. They cannot decide to admit someone to hospital on their own, but will usually need the agreement of two independent doctors.
The Care Coordinator
The Care Coordinator is the main link between the mental health team and the person who uses the service. Usually in CMHTs care coordinators are a CPN, OT or a SW.
Besides these main professions, CMHTs may include other sorts of workers. These other professionals can include outreach workers, mental health workers, benefits workers, support workers, recovery workers, vocational therapists, art therapists and psychotherapists. More and more staff, without professional qualifications in health or social care, also work with such teams because of their special knowledge and skills. These include people who have had mental health problems, advocates, and workers from day centres or housing organisations. Specialist old age psychiatry teams may include other professionals such as speech therapists or physiotherapists. These workers may also see people in their own homes.