Taught course

Mental Health Social Work

University of Strathclyde · Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Entry requirements

1. Be nominated by their employing local authority, be supported by their employing local authority and be provided with appropriate learning opportunities.

2. Hold a professional social work qualification recognised by SSSC. These include:

  • BA (Hons) Social Work
  • Diploma in Social Work (DipSW)
  • Certificate of Qualification in Social Work (CQSW) together with its predecessor qualifications
  • Certificate in Social Service (CSS)

If you trained abroad, a letter of comparability with the CQSW or a letter of verification issued by SSSC (or another registering Council in the UK) will be required.

3. Normally have a minimum of two years post-qualifying experience. You should be able to demonstrate that you've improved and extended the level of competence acquired when you qualified.

Months of entry


Course content

The course trains social workers for the role of Mental Health Officer (MHO) in which they will be able to contribute positively to the care and treatment of those experiencing mental disorder by ensuring an approach that recognises the impact of social as well as medical circumstances on their lives.

The role of MHO is as defined in Section 32 of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003, and as qualified by the direction of the Scottish Ministers (Requirements for appointment as Mental Health Officers) Direction (January 2009).

In 2007, the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) published a new set of standards and practice competencies for MHO training. This stated that the certificate must be:

  • provided by a university, within a programme provider partnership
  • delivered at SCQF Level 11, which equates with Masters level
  • be approved by the SSSC as a specialist course

The course has been externally evaluated and assessed as producing MHOs who are competent to practice from the perspective of the local authorities who employ the candidates on completion of the award. Between 85 and 90% of all candidates complete the course within a 12-month period. On completion of the programme, 100% of candidates are appointed as MHO by their local authority.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PGCert
    part time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Enquiries