Mental Health charity, Centre for Mental Health has recently published a collaborative report on NHS mental health services 2012-2016.
For over 30 years, the Centre for Mental Health, as the charity is now known, has conducted and disseminated research about understanding, current practice, knowledge, services and solutions in the mental health landscape.
Working with the NHS Benchmarking Network, the Centre for Mental Health briefing paper is a detailed analysis of NHS data. Working on the project was SSPSSR student Amy.
Amy joined the charity for her year in Professional Practice as part of her BSc Social Sciences degree programme. Amy’s role was as Policy Research Assistant and she quickly realised that she was analysing data and drawing conclusions that had national significance and impacted on government policy:
“This was an amazing opportunity to gain a year’s work experience at a hugely influential independent mental health research charity.’
Amy knew that her placement was an opportunity to use – and display – her research skills in a real setting. She also found herself needing to think critically and to be able to communicate a balanced argument in order to contribute effectively as part of an experienced team.
Andy Bell, Deputy Chief Executive of the charity says of Kent’s professional placement year:
“As a mental health charity seeking to influence national policy through research, we at Centre for Mental Health have benefited enormously from Kent’s placement scheme. It boosted our capacity to get important messages across to policy-makers in Government, in Parliament and more widely across the country. It extended our analytical capacity and our ability to respond quickly to consultations, inquiries and debates.
We are grateful to the University for the chance to participate in the scheme and would recommend it to any charity wanting to make a difference nationwide.”
Amy’s work throughout the year centred around data analysis which formed the basis of the ‘Mental Health NHS Benchmarking Network Data for England and Wales: the last five years in adult and older adult mental health services’ (Bell et al., 2017), Amy says:
“I am humbled to have been a part of this project as it is expected to have substantial impact and add to the growing evidence base developing around a current lack of mental health services available in secondary care. The report includes policy implications for national policy makers to consider in the future. I am now confident that I can pursue a career in policy once I finish my degree.”
A year in professional practice is available to SSPSSR students on Criminal Justice and Criminology and Social Sciences programmes, for more information contact SSPSSR Placements Co-ordinator, Ellie Jupp.