Opportunities to train for work in mental health


“I must balance each patient’s civil and human rights, while considering the least restrictive way of supporting them though their mental health crisis”

Anyone looking for a challenging but rewarding career is being encouraged to train as approved mental health professional.

One Oxfordshire practitioner, Sijo Mathew, has become one of the faces of a new recruitment campaign launched this week.

Mr Matthew works on the frontline with people who’s mental health is deteriorating.

He describes the role as “Challenging but incredibly rewarding”.

Mr Matthew told us about his work:

“It’s no ordinary social care job. I must balance each patient’s civil and human rights, while considering the least restrictive way of supporting them though their mental health crisis.

“I’m the frontline when someone’s mental health deteriorates, and specialist services need to become involved. They might require compulsory admission to hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983. This is a crucial moment when I must intervene, using my knowledge and expertise.

“My role is to protect the patient and the public. I coordinate Mental Health Act assessments with specialist doctors. This may require police involvement, such as if executing a warrant to enter a property to assist the individual. The role can be challenging but incredibly rewarding.

“The individual will be assessed by two psychiatrists, with me – as the approved mental health professional – responsible for making the key decision to either detain them in hospital or to make sure they are supported in the community.

“Detaining a patient in hospital for compulsory admission can evoke a lot of concern and possible stigma, which is why admission must only be used as a viable option when all other avenues to care and treatment have been exhausted. 

“At every stage, I consider the human rights of the patient – their rights to freedom versus the need to protect them, and possibly their family and the broader public. It can be a long journey to eventual recovery, beginning with specialist mental health support once the initial assessment is completed. 

“I believe admission to hospital is an important part of the process, ensuring the best outcome for the individual.

“When I talk to individuals and their families at a later date, that is often when I receive thanks and appreciation. They open up, acknowledging that the intervention had been needed, even if they didn’t recognise it at the time. I get a huge sense of relief when they’re recovering. It feels like I’ve really made a difference to their life. That is one of the most rewarding experiences anyone can have.

“Becoming an approved mental health professional has been an incredible personal experience for me. Six-months’ training, to an equivalent of master’s level. Then continuing to develop my professional skills with Oxfordshire County Council.

“I’ve never looked back. I’m so proud to know that every day I might be called upon to intervene in someone’s life. That is why an approved mental health professional has such an important role, and why I encourage others to join me in this rewarding career, where you can make a positive difference.”

Details of how to apply to become an approved mental health professional are available from Oxfordshire County Council’s website.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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