What professionals are involved in mental health?

If you are caring for someone with mental health problems you may be introduced to lots of professionals. Here we explain who some and what some of these people do.


Social worker

Social workers often get involved if someone has social problems such as housing, finances or trouble accessing work.


A psychiatrist is a doctor who specialises in the treatment of mental health problems. They help to diagnose what the illness is and decide what treatment (medication or therapy) might help. They also decide whether someone needs to go to hospital.

Community Psychiatric Nurse

Also known as a CPN, this person is a nurse who specialises in the treamtent of mental health problems. They are able to give anti-psychotic injections which help people who may forget to take oral medication.

Care Coordinator

In some teams, the roles of social workers, nurses and occupational therapists can look very similar as they have learnt skills to support people with different needs. A good example of this is a form tutor at school, they wear different hats e.g. maths teacher hat, form tutor hat. They help people by developing a care plan; this is working out what support or services may help and who is doing what. They also talk with different organisations on a person's behalf if they can’t manage or need assistance.


Psychotherapists look deeper into problems and worries. Therapy is usually undertaken over a long period of time and may involve art, music, drama and movement.

Family therapist

A family therapist provides sessions that help families to understand each other better, giving them an opportunity to talk in a safe space with professional support. This helps them build on strengths and make useful changes in their relationships and their lives.

Occupational therapist

This is someone who helps people to adapt to their environment and cope with their daily life. They assess someones ability to look after themself e.g. washing, bathing, cooking and housework. They also work with individuals, either one-to-one or in groups with the aim of reducing loneliness and encouraging them to achieve more than they have been able to do while they are ill. An occupational therapist will support an individual to build skills and confidence and identify hobbies and interests that really help with mental health.


They provide therapy to individuals either in one-to-one sessions or in groups. A psychologist supports people to identify what may be causing issues for them and ways they can deal with this in a healthy and positive way.

Approved Mental Health Professional

Also called an AMHP, these people are care-coordinators or keyworkers that support people with a wide range of mental health problems and issues. The difference between an AMHP and a social worker is that an AMHP will carry out Mental Health Act assessments. This assessment is carried out when there is a need to ensure peoples safety. An AMHP becomes involved when somneone is considered to be a risk to themselves or others.