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Primary care graduate mental health worker

Primary care graduate mental health worker

It is estimated that one in four GP consultations are with people with mental health problems. The role of a graduate mental health worker is to provide increased capacity in the primary care setting to improve the management of common mental health problems. 

Primary care graduate mental health workers are sometimes known as PCGMHWs or as graduate mental health workers (GMHWs).

Exact job roles for PCGMHW's will vary between different NHS employers, however, typically they will all include:

    • Face to face client work - supporting the delivery of brief interventions and self help for people with common mental disorders of all ages. For example, working with clients with panic disorder and major depression using cognitive behavioural approaches.
    • Promoting positive mental health and the importance of addressing mental health issues.
    • Improving the information available for patients about mental health.
    • Strengthening the knowledge held within a GP practice about the network of community resources available for people with mental health problems.
    • Wider community networking and liaison.

They will also work with a range of mental health staff, including psychiatrists, mental health nurses, arts therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and social workers.

Primary care graduate mental health workers are different from primary care mental health workers. Primary care mental health workers are professionally qualified workers - such as nurses, social workers or psychologists - who work mainly in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and who have undertaken specific educational programmes.

Primary care graduate mental health workers work in primary care settings, such as GP surgeries and clinics.

Entry requirements

Roles for PCGMHWs are typically open either to new graduates (usually in a relevant subject - psychology may be required/specified) or applicants who have graduated previously and have relevant work experience (usually in a health and/or social care setting - some employers may specify experience of working in mental health or with people with disabilities).


A postgraduate educational programme is offered by a number of universities across England. Typically, successful candidates will study for the Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Mental Health Care Practice.

For details about how to apply, contact the Health Learning and Skills Advice Line (08000 150 850).

Primary care graduate mental health workers can also undertake further training to work as high intensity therapists, as part of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service.


Salaries will usually start at band 5 of Agenda for Change, but job applicants should check carefully with each employer advertising vacancies for specific information.

How to apply for jobs

Vacancies are advertised on the NHS Jobs website, as well as in the local press and on the Jobcentre Plus website.