Job Roles in a Community Mental Health Team
When someone with a mental health condition needs more treatment than their GP can give them, a common outcome is a referral to a Community Mental Health Team (CMHT). The patient may see one or more professional there, or attend groups. They are a service that is available during the week, during normal working hours, although patients may sometimes be referred for other options such as crisis intervention or inpatient treatment.
CMHTs consist of a variety of professionals, so that the most appropriate treatment can be arranged for each patient. This article provides a summary of the different professionals that may be encountered in these teams.
- Psychiatrist – these are doctors who have done, or are in the process of doing, further training in psychiatry. They usually see patients for medication reviews and may also make referrals to other services or colleagues.
- Clinical Psychologists - these have completed a doctorate in clinical psychology and spend time with patients, listening to them and helping them find ways to solve their problems.
- Nurses – often called Community Psychiatric Nurses. They have a variety of roles, including visiting clients at home, monitoring medication side-effects and provide practical support.
- Occupational Therapists – these help people to gain confidence and includes support with practical tasks.
- Social Workers – these work with people who need help with things like money, housing and childcare.
- Psychotherapists/Counsellors – these listen to patients, giving them the space and time to talk about what is troubling them.
- Art Therapists – these undertake art therapy with patients, allowing them to express themselves in a creative way.
- Other Creative Therapists – these may include music, drama or dance therapy.
- Support Workers – these provide general support to the patients, depending on the individual, the situation and what facilities the CMHT has.
- Volunteers – some teams will have opportunities for volunteers. These may include helping with administrative work, befriending patients and providing general support.
Many patients will be allocated a key worker, who will be their main point of contact within the team. This means that the patient will be able to develop a relationship with this person that is more productive than if they see a different person each time they attend the service. It is likely that other members of the team will be involved in the patient’s care, but who this is and how many people will depend on the circumstances of the individual patient, as well as the resources of the service.