What is the Competence Framework for Mental Health Peer Support Workers?

The National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH) developed the Competence Framework for Mental Health Peer Support Workers (MH PSWs) with UCLPartners and a specially convened expert reference group including peer support workers. It was commissioned by Health Education England as part of their ‘New Roles’ programme, ahead of a large expansion of PSW roles in statutory services around England.

The Competence Framework for MH PSWs outlines the knowledge, skills and attitudes required of the role. It aims to be flexible and adaptable, steering away from over-professionalising a role which, at its heart, is about human connection and relationships. 

It outlines core skills for people starting out as MH PSWs, and includes optional skills for people who wish to develop further within the role, and competences for organisations to support PSWs. It is relevant to mental health care services, team members working with MH PSWs, their managers and commissioners, as well as voluntary community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations that want to offer peer support.

The Competence Framework for MH PSWs comprises three parts:

In addition, there is the outcome of the public consultation on Parts 1 and 2 (PDF).

The competence map is available on the UCL website.

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