UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Mental Health Wellbeing Practitioner (MHWP) Postgraduate Certificate

There is significant unmet meet for psychological interventions in Severe Mental Health, and Mental Health Wellbeing Practitioners (MHWP) will play a significant role in meeting this need.

The course owes its origins to the Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. IAPT had one principal aim: to support the frontline NHS primary care trusts (PCTs) implement National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines for people suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. The Mental Health Wellbeing Practitioner model and training is based on the IAPT Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) role.  Both roles focus on the provision of low intensity interventions, but MHWPs work in the context of Severe Mental Health Problems (SMHP). 

Trainees are employed full-time by their local NHS service and funded to attend the Certificate as part of their contract. Trainees are expected to attend all course days and practice-based learning days. 

Start date:There are two intakes each academic year. Please see the Application section below.
Duration: 1 year
Tuition Fees: 

There are no tuition fees payable by students on this programme.

Programme Aims and Principles

Following from the success of the IAPT programme in providing much needed training and staff capacity for the NHS workforce, this format of training and the role has now been extended to other areas of mental health. In 2021, NHSE established an Health Education England tender for an equivalent low-intensity role to provide care planning and psychological interventions for people with Severe Mental Health Problems (SMHP); this role is known as Mental Health Wellbeing Practitioner (MHWP). MHWP practitioners will support people with psychosis, bipolar, personality disorder and eating disorders. The role is essential in increasing mental health services’ capacity so that mental health practitioners (e.g., nurses, occupational therapists) can have their job plans revised to allow them to train in and deliver high intensity psychological therapies. 

Programme Content

Objectives and Outcomes 

Trainees on this programme will gain the knowledge necessary for providing low-intensity interventions for clients with mild to moderate depression and anxiety in their primary healthcare work setting, together with the clinical skills essential to assess and engage clients, and to deliver interventions within a guided self-help model. 

Why Study at UCL? 

The UCL course is run and taught by experienced practitioners in the field, and therefore a balance is achieved between the teaching of the theoretical knowledge needed and the practical skills necessary in training as a MHWP

Students will receive employment and practical experience in their local NHS service alongside this formal training needed in order to become a qualified MHWP

Who is the programme for? 

Applicants are required to show evidence of ability to study successfully at postgraduate level and have experience in an employed or formal volunteer helping role with people with psychological, interpersonal or social problems. They should have a broad understanding of mental health issues and ability to form a good helping relationship with people with mental health problems, obtained through work or volunteer experience. Applicants should also have good communication skills and the ability to use clinical supervision and personal development positively and effectively.  

Programme Structure


The training programme lasts a year during which trainees study one day a week at UCL and work four days a week under supervision in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Services. The course programme consists of three core modules (20 credits each) which are based on the HEE Curriculum for the Education of Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioners. 

The programme is based at UCL, with 80% teaching delivered remotely, and 20% on-site at the UCL Bloomsbury Campus. The programme is part-time over one year, delivered usually one day a week in term time. It incorporates a variety of teaching methods including workshops, skills practice, clinical seminar skills groups, directed reading and e-learning. Practice-based learning is carried out in the NHS, and all taught components are at UCL.  

Teaching and Assessment

The course is modular. All modules are non-condonable as they are required to be passed to demonstrate clinical competence. The module titles are listed below: 

  1. Engagement and Assessment of Patients for Low-Intensity Interventions. 
  2. Care Planning in Partnership: Understanding Values, Diversity and Context. 
  3. Evidence-Based Low-Intensity Psychological Interventions for Severe Mental Health Problems. 

Trainees will be assessed by a variety of methods including course work essays, clinical case reports, exams, assessed audio recordings of clinical work and supervisor competence assessment reports. All assessments need to be passed and contribute to the award of the certificate.

In addition to the teaching and reading, the programme requires that trainees see people with mental health problems for low-intensity interventions under supervision. Supervised low-intensity work needs to be with the types of mental health problem linked with the specific programme route that you are undertaking. 


Entry Requirements

Applicants for a UCL postgraduate programme are normally expected to hold at least a 2.2 in a UK undergraduate degree (or equivalent overseas qualification). 

In addition, applicants for this programme are required to have: 

  • Evidence of experience in an employed or formal volunteer helping role with people with psychological, interpersonal or social problems. 
  • Evidence of a broad understanding of mental health issues and ability to form a good helping relationship with people with mental health problems, obtained through study, work or volunteer experience with people who have experienced a mental health problem. 
  • Evidence of a broad understanding of NHS primary care and mental health services. 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Good organisational and computer skills: word processing and data processing. 
  • The ability to use clinical supervision and personal development positively and effectively.
  • Either working in, or about to start working in, a mental health setting with people with severe mental health problems. 
  • Employed by an NHS-funded organisation and agreement of that organisation to access suitable clients for low-intensity interventions, and provide supervision from a qualified CBT supervisor. 

All trainees will have the dual status of university students and NHS employees. Occupational health and DBS will have been arranged by students' NHS employer as a requirement of their employment prior to secondment to the programme. 

Application Process

Please note that this is a special application process whereby applicants apply directly to the NHS Trust. This role will be advertised by individual NHS Trusts and UCL does not lead on the application process. Interested applicants are advised to set up an NHS jobs alert for Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioner. 


The Postgraduate Certificate is the formal training required as part of the student's employment as a MHWP. Graduates of the programme will be competent to practice as MHWPs within NHS mental health services. Graduates are offered a two-year employment subject to successful completion of the programme. This is dependent on local NHS Trust agreements. 

For further details, please visit the NHS Careers website: NHS Careers Website 

Training is full time and, after training, part-time, job-share and other flexible working arrangements are possible. 

Options for career development beyond the MHWP role include progression to become a Senior MHWP, Team Leader/Service Manager or to pursue a career in related fields such as high intensity therapy, nursing, teaching, speech and language therapy, social work and clinical psychology. 


Email: mhwpadmin@ucl.ac.uk


Programme Directors

Professor Stephen Pilling   

Stephen Pilling is Joint Programme Director of the Low Intensity Course at UCL and the Director of the British Psychological Society’s Centre for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness (CORE) based in the Research Department of Clinical Education and Health Psychology, University College London where his focus is on health service research including clinical trials in schizophrenia and depression, in particular low intensity interventions. He developed with Tony Roth the CBT competence framework which contributed to the IAPT training syllabus on which this course is based. He is also the Joint Director of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH), which is responsible for developing the mental health clinical practice guideline for NICE guidelines, and is a partnership between the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the British Psychological Society. He works as Consultant Clinical Psychologist for Camden and Islington Foundation Trust.   

Dr Fergus Kane 

Dr Fergus Kane is the lead for the MHWP route of the Low Intensity Course at UCL. He is also a principal Clinical Psychologist working at the PICuP outpatient psychosis service at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust.  He has a research background in the neurobiology of bipolar disorder, which led to him training as a clinical psychologist. He has a number of specialist interests including supporting people with experiences of psychosis and bipolar disorder, working with the consequences of traumatic experiences and the use of technology to improve the utility and efficiency of healthcare, therapy and training. He has worked and taught in three different countries and whilst in Ecuador, taught the country's first course in trauma focussed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT).  Dr Kane believes passionately in working to make high quality psychology therapy more widely available and accessible.  

Dr Rachel Newman  

Rachel Newman is Joint Programme Director of the Low Intensity Course at UCL and is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist. Until 2011, she was additionally the Service Lead for the Primary Care Mental Health Service in Islington until moving to focus on the course role. She has taken a leading role in the supervision, management and training of primary care mental health workers in Islington since their introduction; and in developing low intensity interventions locally. She has considerable experience in cognitive behavioural therapy having completed a post graduate diploma in CBT at Royal Holloway. At UCL she has contributed to work on developing core competencies in CBT with Stephen Pilling and Tony Roth, using this as a basis to develop and deliver a one-year postgraduate course in CBT at UCL for local psychologists. She sits on the BPS PWP Accreditation Committee and is an External Examiner for an IAPT High Intensity Course.