New roles - Psychology graduates in general practice and community care focusing upon mental health prevention and promotion.

Talk Code: 
Ameera Iqbal
Author institutions: 
Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust

The problem

Approximately 40% of primary care consultations have a mental health component (1). However, there remains a huge disparity between money spent on preventing physical and mental health problems in primary care (2). From 2021, PCN’S will be able to use additional funding from NHS England to employ mental health professionals directly (3). GP’s are under significant time and resource restraints to meet mental health needs (1). Psychology graduates could potentially fill this gap as an underused resource.

The approach

The primary aim of this evaluation is to assess the feasibility of delivering mental health prevention and promotion strategies in a general practice and community setting by psychology graduates. Two Assistant Psychologists will work across these settings. The evaluation aims to understand if this workforce can feasibly deliver such mental wellness approaches and build resiliency within community members.

The learning

The timing of this work is advantageous given the rise in mental health issues following the COVID-19 pandemic (4). There is also a growing recognition of the significant gap in mental health prevention and promotion support in primary care (5). Such interventions, delivered by mental health/psychology professionals working with primary care has found to be extremely cost effective for people with poor mental health (5). Recruitment for the current project proved straight forward, given the vast number of psychology graduates who are looking for Assistant Psychologist roles.

Why it matters


Economic modelling has shown that many mental health preventative interventions are outstandingly good value for money over time (6). Finding an effective workforce who are able to work in a primary care setting and deliver mental health preventative interventions matters to patient care and the sustainability of NHS services. Better integration with the community to boost resilience and support community resources is vital for effective healthcare (7).


Presenting author:

Ameera Iqbal, Assistant Psychologist at Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, project funded by Health Education England ( )


Charlotte Harding, Assistant Psychologist at Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, project funded by Health Education England (

Dr Miranda Budd, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, project funded by Health Education England (


References –

  1. Mind (2018). GP Mental Health Training Survey Summary [Online] Available via: https://www. survey-summary.pdf.
  2. Foley, T. (2013). Bridging the Gap: The financial case for a reasonable rebalancing of health and care resources. Royal College of Psychiatrists, Centre for Mental Health.
  3. Naylor, C., Bell, A., Baird, B., Heller, A., Gilburt, H. (2020) Mental health and primary care networks: understanding the opportunities. London: The King’s Fund and Centre for Mental Health
  4. Galea, S., Merchant, R. M., & Lurie, N. (2020). The mental health consequences of COVID-19 and physical distancing: The need for prevention and early intervention. JAMA internal medicine, 180(6), 817-818.
  5. Durcan, G. (2020). Clinical Psychology in primary care. Centre for Mental Health Report.
  1. Knapp, M., McDaid, D. (2011). Mental health promotion and mental illness prevention: The economic case. London: Department of Health.
  2. General practice forward view (2016). Royal College of General Practitioners. Health Education England.