Primary Care Specialist Mental Health Practitioner

Primary Care Specialist Mental Health Practitioner

A primary care specialist mental health practitioner is an experienced professional who can support patients with either a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health concern. Their role is to work across the North Arden PCN’S to provide early assessment and treatment interventions for people with mental illness as well as providing additional signposting advice and information as needed.

Acting as initial points of contact for adults who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health illnesses, they will endeavour to enhance the patient journey and create better joint working across Primary Care and adult Specialist Community Mental Health Services (SCMH) making it easier for patients to access the help they need at the right time with the right practitioner.

They will offer an in-depth assessment and initial support as well as refer patients on to local services for longer term treatment. They can also liaise with the GP about starting any medication without patients needing to speak to them.

The primary care specialist mental health practitioner works closely with other PCN-based roles to help address the potential range of biopsychosocial needs of patients with mental health problems. This will include the PCN’s MDT, including, for example, PCN clinical pharmacists for medication reviews, and social prescribing link workers for access to community-based support. They are also responsible for the clinical leadership and management of mental health provision within the North Arden PCN and will be managing any day-to-day operational / clinical issues arising within the mental health service delivery.

Patients that are referred to them can be provided up to 4-5 face to face sessions, these will to be deliver interventions such as psychoeducation for common mental health disorders, sleep hygiene, relaxation, coping strategies, emotional regulation, compassion focused interventions for trauma, depression and anxiety management or signposting to an appropriate third sector service.

Patients who are suitable to be seen by the primary care specialist mental health practitioner:

  • Mild to moderate mental health problems
  • 18+
  • Depression, anxiety, stress, panic, difficulty with emotions, feeling suicidal, feeling overwhelmed
  • Those who are on a waiting list for treatment but feel they need their mood reviewed
  • Anyone feeling their mental health is relapsing
  • People unable to follow a structured treatment model

Our Primary Care Specialist Mental Health Practitioners

Sian Aston

Sian joined us at the PCN on the 18th of September 2023. She qualified from Coventry University in 2010 as an Occupational Therapist (OT). She previously worked for University Hospitals Birmingham NHS foundation trust (previously known as Heart of England NHS foundation trust).

Sian’s first Occupational therapy role was a rotational post across three hospital sites and specialities including care of older adults, Trauma and orthopaedics and Respiratory medicine.

In 2015 Sian joined the Macmillan Palliative care Occupational Therapy team. Sian supported patients with life limiting conditions in the hospital setting. Her key responsibilities were to support patients to identify their preferred place of care, maximise a patient’s independence and engagement in activities of daily living, assess and provide equipment, provide non-pharmacological interventions for fatigue, anxiety, and breathlessness (FAB) and provide emotional support to patients and their families. Sian also delivered virtual well- being group sessions to patients following cancer treatments.

In 2022 Sian joined the specialist HIV outpatients’ team at Heartlands and Queen Elizabeth hospital. Her key responsibilities in this role were to assess patients experiencing issues with their mental health for a wide variety of reasons such as anxiety, low mood, work stress, relationship breakdowns, stigma, past trauma etc. She would refer / signpost to the most appropriate support within the wider community teams such as talking therapies, charities, and community organisations. Sian delivered interventions for low level anxiety management, behaviour activation, sleep hygiene, relaxation techniques and grounding techniques and support with memory techniques to support medication adherence.

Sian can support patients who are 17+ with Mild to moderate mental health problems, this includes, Depression, anxiety, stress, panic, difficulty with managing or expressing emotions, experiencing suicidal thoughts, or feeling overwhelmed.  She can support patients who are on a waiting list for treatment (IAPT, Sycamore, counselling) but feel they need their mood reviewed. She can help talk through the options available to patients who are unsure about the mental health services that are currently available.

Sian is looking forward to being a part of the PCN and helping to improve the patients access to mental health support. Sian’s professional interests are anxiety management, sleep hygiene, fatigue management and palliative care. Sian also has a keen interest in supporting patients whose mental health is being affected by their physical health or disability.

Andrew McNaney

Andrew is highly trained and qualified with a Bsc in Health and Social Care from Nottingham Trent University which he completed in 2012 following which he trained for a Bsc in Mental Health Nursing from Coventry University which he completed his qualification for in 2019.

Before undertaking his qualifications to pursue a career in nursing Andrew followed a diverse career path having primarily worked in clothing retail for roughly 4 years after the completion of his first degree. He also worked in a nightclub behind the bar and was a retail assistant in a corner shop from age 14-20 years old.

Prior to joining our PCN in November 2023 Andrew was a Rehabilitation Nurse in a mixed mental health rehabilitation unit, a role which he thoroughly enjoyed. Andrew is excited to explore his new role with us as it is his first community role. With his previous background being entirely in inpatient nursing Andrew is keen to explore the differences and challenges that this new role will bring. 

Andrew’s professional interests are focused on learning more about both mental and physical health in order to become the most well rounded professional possible. He has had a vested interest in mental health, and specifically counselling, since he undertook a psychology course at school.

Andrew’s future aspirations for his role are to develop more therapeutic ways of engaging with people in order to enable them to gain insight into their specific issues and collaboratively develop plans of action to deal with these issues.