Mental health

Two elderly gentlemen smiling at eachother We estimate that 4-500,000 social care workers have regular contact with people who have a mental health problem.

Staff working in social care should know how to support and promote good mental health and overall wellbeing for everyone who uses those services.

Our resources support those working in adult social care to develop their skills and knowledge in this area. 

Best practice in mental health

To help you identify what good practice looks like, we published the Common core principles to support good mental health and wellbeing in adult social care. The principles:

  • provide a basis for a general understanding of promoting good mental health and recognising signs of poor mental health among everyone who needs care and support
  • aim to build confidence by identifying good practice underpinned by indicative behaviours
  • are relevant to every setting.

You can order a pocket sized version of the principles.

The Principles to practice guide is a practical workbook to help ensure delivery of consistent high quality mental health and social care. It presents lots of workplace scenarios that can help you think about how to apply the principles of best practice in your everyday job. 

Look after yourself

Social work can be a very rewarding career, but it can be stressful. The circumstances of those you care for and your work environment may be a challenge to you at times.

You may also understand and promote wellbeing to those you care for, but forget your own. Resilience is a quality that helps us cope with stress and life’s situations. Use our resilience resources to help you.   

Supporting consistent training

The national ‘Core Skills Education and Training Framework’ sets out the expected learning outcomes and minimum standards for the delivery of mental health services.

It's aim is to improve the way the workforce cares for people with mental health issues, and to help the workforce implement the national mental health strategy entitled 'No Health Without Mental Health'.  Commissioned by the Department of Health, we’ve developed it together with Health Education England and Skills for Health. 

Mental health and co-production

The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health (2016) called for co-production at every stage of the commission cycle so that all mental health services have been designed with and by people with relevant lived experience. 

Our 'Co-production in mental health guide' explores what’s stopping people from attempting
co-production and what can help, using the experience of people trying to do it in different settings across England. It’s for people who commission, design or deliver mental health services to help you understand co-production better, reflect on your own practice and implement changes in your organisation.


As a care worker, you must be aware of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005. The Act aims to empower and protect people who may not be able to make some decisions for themselves. It also enables people to plan ahead in case they are unable to make important decisions for themselves in the future.

You are legally required to comply with the Code of Practice when acting in relation to a person who lacks, or who may lack, capacity. 

If you’d like to train your staff in this area, take a look at Learn from Others to see what others have done.  Under learning materials there is a training session plan and other useful free resources.

We've produced small wallet sized cards for all staff which explain the Mental Capacity Act.  You can order these here.

The Care Certificate is an identified set of standards that health and social care workers adhere to in their daily working life. It sets out explicitly the learning outcomes, competences and standards of care that will be expected.

Standard nine focusses on mental health and requires an awareness of the experiences and causes of mental health conditions. This is so that signs and symptoms are passed onto other workers.  Staff should show compassion and understanding when they experience any behaviour that is difficult to understand or respond to.  

The Endorsement Framework rewards learning and development providers who demonstrate excellence in adult social care provision.  

You can search the Endorsed Provider directory to find mental health courses that are delivered by recommended providers. 

The ‘Healthy workplaces: improving employee mental and physical health and wellbeing’ quality standard from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence outlines priority areas where employers can help improve their staff’s mental and physical health and wellbeing.