Mental Health and Learning Disabilities & Autism

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About Us

At least one-in-four people experience mental ill health at some point in their life. It is the single largest cause of disability in the UK.  The NHS SE Mental Health Learning Disabilities and Autism Workforce Training and Education Programme [SE MHLDA] exists to improve the lives of adults and children who have mental health needs, a learning disability or are neurodiverse.  We aim to develop a SE workforce that provides a consistent level of high quality care and support.  A workforce with the right skills, values and competencies in the right place at the right time. ​

​We will work in partnership to deliver the regional share of the growth and transformation as defined in the NHS Long Term Plan and Mental Health Implementation Plan.  Our vision is to increase the supply and enhance the competency of our workforce to meet the needs of the SE population.​ 

Our investment is aligned with the 23/24 NHS England SE Business Plan, the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan and the  Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24. It supports the three priorities for the SE Workforce Training and Education Directorate:​

  • Growing the workforce.​
  • Working differently and productively ​
  • Compassionate and inclusive culture ​

​ We commission a range of education and training programmes across the full spectrum of mental health programmes – Learning disabilities and Autism, Children and Young People; Adult and Older People, New Ways of Working.  To find out more about the training we offer please click on the link to our latest brochure

Our role is to help our health and care partners train and shape the NHS workforce to improve mental health services and care for patients and services users.  We commission a range of programmes that

Offer upskilling opportunities to existing mental health professions

New roles to enhance capacity across the mental health workforce

Awareness training to give all staff a knowledge of mental health across care settings

In line with the Long Term Workforce Plan and other key legislation HEE South East team are working with our National Mental Health team and key stakeholders to support the expansion and development of the Children & Young People’s Mental Health Workforce.  This will be achieved by:- 

Commissioning high quality education and training and supporting development of the CYP talking therapies programme. This includes providing ‘Recruit to Train’ funded training for Children & Young People’s Wellbeing Practitioners and CYP talking therapists across a range of therapies and interventions. 

Working in partnership with ICBs, DfE and local education providers to deliver the roll out of Mental Health Support Teams based in education settings in line with the government green paper. MHLDA programme is responsible for commissioning and managing the Education Mental Health Practitioner and Supervisor Training. 

Supporting the ongoing training and development of the wider CYP Mental Health workforce by commissioning upskilling activities and training opportunities e.g. CYP IAPT whole team inpatient training and the Post Graduate Service Leadership Certificate.  Locally, MHLDA programme have worked to provide ongoing upskilling opportunities to meet emerging identified needs such as training on Eating Disorders and Neurodiversity. 

The MHLDA programme South East team work closely with key stakeholders in the South East to respond to local need and support the ongoing development of the workforce.  

A key part of Mental Health Programme is introducing new roles into mental health services or expanding existing roles. 

Peer Support Worker (PSW) 

Peer Support Workers (PSW) have lived experience of mental health challenges.  Their approach is to support others built on shared experiences and empathy and is valued and supported by the NHS. PSWs are an integral supporting function within the mental health workforce and are deployed in both NHS trusts and within other provider organisations that support patients in their recovery journey.  

The Mental Health Implementation Plan identifies opportunities for the growth of peer support workers up until 2024.   

Approved/Responsible Clinicians 

Amendments to the Mental Health Act introduced the roles of the multi-professional approved clinician and responsible clinicians (AC/RC). These professionals are consultant level staff and may be drawn from social workers, occupational therapists, psychologists and nursing staff and help to provide a multi-professional approach to interventions.  

To find out more about these new roles please refer to our programme training brochure.


We have several Learning Disability and Autism programmes currently in development and further details will be released shortly. Please review the links below for more information:​

1. Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training for Learning disabilities and Autism

2. Autism training for those working in adult inpatient mental health

3. Autism Peer Support Worker Roles

4. Autism Peer Education for Parents and Carers

5. Autism Awareness e-learning Programme

Contact Us

If you have any queries or would like more information, please contact