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Our expectations of professionals who complete approved mental health professional (AMHP) training

About AMHP practice

AMHPs exercise functions under the Mental Health Act 1983. Those functions relate to decisions made about individuals with mental disorders, including the decision to apply for compulsory
admission to hospital.

Social workers, mental health and learning disabilities nurses, occupational therapists and practitioner psychologists, registered with their respective regulator, may train to become AMHPs.

Successful completion of an approved programme only makes an individual eligible to be approved to act as an AMHP. Only those who have completed approved training and have been approved to act as an AMHP by a Local Social Services Authority in England may perform the functions of an AMHP.

On 2 December 2019, the approval of AMHP programmes transferred to Social Work England. If you are considering becoming an approved mental health professional, please visit the Social Work England website to find an approved programme.

Our expectations of individual AMHPs

These criteria do not replace other standards that either we or the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) set and AMHPs will need to draw on these other standards to support their wider practice. We expect HCPC registrants to keep to our standards of proficiency, standards of conduct, performance and ethics and standards for continuing professional development, all of which are available on our website. Nurses will be expected to keep to the standards that the NMC set, which are available on their website.

Given that the AMHP role applies to a number of professions who practice in different environments, we do not stipulate how individuals completing AMHP programmes must be able to demonstrate the competencies set out in Section 2 of the criteria after training.

As autonomous professionals, individuals completing approved AMHP programmes will need to make informed and reasoned decisions about their practice to ensure that they meet the criteria that apply to them. This includes seeking advice and support from education providers, employers, colleagues, professional bodies, unions and others to ensure that the wellbeing of service users is safeguarded at all times. If a professional ensures this, it is unlikely that they will not meet our criteria.

Section 2: Approved mental health professionals

  • Education providers must make sure that professionals who complete their AMHP training can meet the criteria set out in this section. We have based these criteria on Schedule 2 to the Mental Health (Approved Mental Health Professionals) (Approval) (England) Regulations 2008.

  • 1.1 Understand legislation, related codes of practice and national and local policy and guidance applicable to the role of an AMHP, and be able to apply this in practice.

    1.2 Understand the legal position and accountability of AMHPs, employers and the authority the AMHP is acting for in relation to the Mental Health Act 1983.

    1.3 Understand a range of models of mental disorder, and be able to apply them in practice.

    1.4 Understand the contribution and impact of social, physical and development factors on mental health, and be able to apply this in practice.

    1.5 Understand the social perspective on mental disorders and mental health needs in working with service users, their relatives, carers and other professionals, and be able to apply this in practice.

    1.6 Understand the implications of mental disorders for service users, their relatives, carers and other professionals, and be able to apply this in practice.

    1.7 Understand the implications of a range of treatments and interventions for service users, their relatives and carers, and be able to apply this in practice.

    1.8 Understand child and adult protection procedures in relation to AMHP practice.

    1.9 Understand the needs of children and young people and their families and the impact those needs have on AMHP practice.

  • 2.1 Be able to exercise appropriate use of independence, authority and autonomy in the AMHP role.

    2.2 Be able to recognise, assess and manage effectively the risks related to the AMHP role.

    2.3 Be able to manage anxiety, risk and conflict and understand its impact on AMHP practice.

  • 3.1 Be able to evaluate critically local and national policy to inform AMHP practice.

    3.2 Be able to draw on, and evaluate critically, a range of research relevant to evidence-based AMHP practice.

    3.3 Be able to gather, analyse and share information appropriately.

  • 4.1 Be able to demonstrate sensitivity to factors such as race, gender, age, sexuality, disability, culture, religion and belief in AMHP practice.

    4.2 Be able to identify, challenge and redress discrimination and inequality in AMHP practice.

    4.3 Understand and respect service users’ qualities, abilities and diverse backgrounds.

    4.4 Be able to promote the rights, dignity and self-determination of service users consistent with their own needs and wishes to enable them to contribute to the decisions made affecting their quality of life and liberty.

    4.5 Be able to demonstrate sensitivity to a service user’s needs for personal respect, confidentiality, choice, dignity and privacy.

  • 5.1 Be able to communicate effectively with service users, relatives and carers when undertaking the AMHP role.

    5.2 Be able to communicate advice, instruction, information and professional opinion, including providing verbal and written reports.

    5.3 Be able to present a case at a legal hearing.

    5.4 Be able to balance and manage the competing requirements of confidentiality and effective information sharing to the benefit of the service user and other persons concerned with the service user’s care

  • 6.1 Be able to work with service users, carers and others to evaluate the outcomes of interventions and identify any unmet needs.

    6.2 Be able to build and sustain effective professional relationships with service users, relatives and carers when undertaking the AMHP role.

    6.3 Be able to work as an AMHP in partnership with others, including inter-agency and inter-professional working.

    6.4 Understand the roles and responsibilities of other professionals involved in statutory mental health work.

    6.5 Be able to use networks and community groups to influence collaborative working with service users, agencies and advocates.

  • 7.1 Be able to make appropriate decisions that are sensitive to the needs of the service user.

    7.2 Be able to assess the feasibility of, and contribute effectively to, planning and implementing options for care of the service user.

    7.3 Be able to plan, negotiate and manage compulsory admission to hospital or arrangements for supervised community treatment.

    7.4 Be able to manage and co-ordinate effectively the relevant legal and practical processes, including the involvement of other professionals, as well as service users, relatives and carers.

    7.5 Be able to complete statutory documentation, including an application for admission, and written records in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines.

We recognise that the use of terminology can be a sensitive issue, particularly around issues about mental health. We have decided that it is appropriate for us to use the language of mental health legislation and refer to ‘mental disorder’ in the criteria. The criteria use phrases such as ‘understand’ and ‘be able to apply’. This is so that they are applicable to those completing AMHP programmes that have not yet started practising as an AMHP.

Questions about the standards

If you are unsure how to interpret these standards, then you should write to, or email the Education department at the following address:

Education Department
Health and Care Professions Council
184 - 186 Kennington Park Road
London SE11 4BU

Standards and guidance
Occupational therapists, Practitioner psychologists
Page updated on: 14/06/2018