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Mental Health Practice MA

Course Description

The MA Mental Health Practice is a specialist post-qualifying programme, and successful candidates will be issued with a written transcript of achievement, making them eligible for approval to act as an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP), and eligible to act as a Best Interest Assessor (BIA).

The MA Mental Health Practice at Cumbria University is delivered in partnership with Cumbria County Council, and students benefit from an expert teaching team, including: senior lecturers and academic staff in Social Work, Nursing and the Social Sciences; Experts by Experience; Mental Health Legislation experts; AMHPs and BIA Practitioners; Psychiatrists; Psychologists; Pharmacists and other allied professionals. The current programme was revalidated in 2014 and academic modules are complimented by practice experience through two placements, mentorship support and academic tutorials. Most students who gain the AMHP and BIA status go onto successful careers working in Mental Health, as the skills gained by successful completion of this programme are highly desirable to employers.

Throughout your studies the Programme Team aim to provide you with a comprehensive and critically reflective understanding and application of the concepts, values, theories and knowledge base underpinning these specialist areas of mental health practice. Through rigorous adherence to professional values, principles, codes of conduct and ethics, we will improve your critical ability to practice ethically and to manage the implications of ethical dilemmas while undertaking Mental Health Act (1983, as amended 2007) Assessments, and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards assessments.

The programme is committed to promoting ethical, culturally capable AMHP and BIA practitioners who respect diversity, challenge inequality, and who can support and safeguard the wellbeing of people with Mental Health problems, their families, carers and communities. Service users and carers have been involved in the development of this programme through both the University of Cumbria’s ‘Expert by Experience’ Programme and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trusts ‘Expert Patients Programme’.

Our study patterns are responsive to the varying needs of students and employers and are reviewed annually with Student Representatives and the Programme Team. We have a range of support systems in place for students returning to study, and recognise that some practitioners may not have studied at level 7 previously, or for some time so academic skills support is offered throughout the programme to address this.

Students will be required to study two additional modules, these are a research methods module and a dissertation module, in which you will be encouraged to undertake primary research and develop academic knowledge in the field of AMHP practice. Please refer to the course outline for further information.

Course outline

The MA in Mental Health Practice aims to:
-Provide a stimulating and challenging academic and scholarly environment for learners who wish to advance their academic and professional development gaining recognised AMHP and BIA awards to support and develop autonomous and reflective thinking.
-Enable students to develop a mastery of complex and specialised knowledge and a critical awareness of issues at the forefront of mental health practice.
-Develop conceptual knowledge and advanced understanding of how techniques of enquiry enable the critical and objective analysis, interpretation and application of research and evidence within mental health practice.
-Through completion of a dissertation, challenge existing knowledge and facilitate the development and application of new ideas and new ways of thinking.

Graduate destinations

Successful candidates will be issued with a written transcript of achievement, making them eligible for approval to act as an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP), and eligible to act as a Best Interest Assessor (BIA).

Other admission requirements

To be eligible for entry to this programme candidates must be qualified either as:
-Social Worker registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.
-First level Nurse, registered in Sub-Part 1 of the Nurses’ Part of the Register maintained under article 5 of the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001, with the inclusion of an entry indicating their field of practice is mental health or learning disabilities nursing.
-Occupational Therapist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.
-Chartered Psychologist who is listed in the British Psychological Society’s Register of Chartered Psychologists and who holds a relevant practicing certificate issued by that Society.

And have:
-Two years post-qualifying experience, with an interest in Mental Health.
-Successful endorsement from their employer to confirm the students level of experience, skills and professional competence are appropriate to embark on this specialist training. This may involve additional procedures by the employers (such as an interview) before their endorsement can be made.
-Successful endorsement from a Local Authority to provide both a suitable placement, and a Practice Assessor.

Students wishing to apply for this programme are required to secure their endorsement prior to an offer of a place being made. Please contact the Programme Lead if you have any questions or for further information.

Applicants outside the Cumbria area should contact Health Admissions for further details -

Visit the Mental Health Practice MA page on the University of Cumbria website for more details!

Entry Requirements

1st or 2nd class honours degree. Students with other qualifications may be admitted to the course via Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) procedures. See course description for further admission details.

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