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29 Jul 2021

Social service workforce Careers in care

Explore a career as a mental health officer

Are you a social worker looking to develop your career? If you have two years experience and work for a council or health and social care partnership you could train to become a mental health officer. 

What do MHOs do? 

Mental health officers (MHOs) have additional training and have a unique role to support and protect people experiencing difficulties with their mental health. Council and health and social care partnerships have legal duties under mental health legislation that MHOs help to meet. 

There is considerable autonomy and responsibility in the MHO role to safeguard the safety, wellbeing and rights of people, The role includes the assessment of individuals experiencing mental health difficulties who may need compulsory measures of care, treatment and in some cases, detention. 

Mental Health Officer Award 

To become an MHO, you need to complete a Mental Health Officer Award postgraduate certificate (60 credits at SCQF level 11) which is recognised by the SSSC. There are three programmes currently offered. 

To help you find out more and hear from MHOs how they feel about their role we’ve produced a leaflet for social workers. You can download or print it to share: 

If you are interested in becoming an MHO, you should speak to your employer to help you apply for the Mental Health Officer Award. 

More information 

For more information visit the SSSC website.  

Mental Health Officer Award 

Mental health officer web page  

Contact information

Sandra Wilson
Communications Officer
Scottish Social Services Council