Mental health skills for physician associates - eLearning

Course information
01 January
Self-directed online course
Course information
01 January
Self-directed online course
Course overview

This is a comprehensive and flexible package of mental health training for physician associates working in primary care as well as secondary mental health and physical health services.

This eLearning programmes are intended to provide a foundational level of knowledge which can be built upon in the live sessions, where the focus is on experiential and interactive skills-based learning. The eLearning is not a prerequisite to attending the live sessions, but may be recommended for some audiences depending on their prior experience.

eLearning modules

This course consists of four 1-hour eLearning introductory modules and an additional four 1-hour advanced e-learning modules. The introductory modules offer essential knowledge needed for conducting a psychiatric history, performing assessments, managing risk, handling acutely distressed or agitated patients, and documenting mental state examinations.

The advanced e-learning modules cover a range of topics, including approaches to diagnosis and formulation, understanding common mental disorders, psychopharmacology, addressing physical health concerns in psychiatric patients, and exploring the legal aspects of mental healthcare.

Module 1

Psychiatric history

  • Outline the purpose and structure of the psychiatric history
  • Use communication techniques to engage patients in providing their psychiatric histories
  • Accurately and effectively document a psychiatric history in the patient record

Module 2

Mental state examination

  • Understanding the principles of the mental state examination (MSE) and the phenomenological approach
  • Knowing the overall structure and components of the MSE
  • Describing psychiatric phenomenology using appropriate language
  • Documenting the mental state examination

Module 3

Risk assessment and management

  • Define the sorts of risks faced by people with mental illness
  • Understand the dynamic and static risk factors that inform risk assessments
  • Recognise a patient’s protective factors
  • Formulate risk using the “four P” model
  • Create effective risk management and safety plans

Module 4

De-escalation and distress management

  • Identify early warning signs of escalation of anxiety/distress or anger
  • Use simple techniques to assist someone who is acutely distressed or anxious
  • Verbally de-escalate a distressed or agitated person
  • Apply strategies to prevent and reduce risk of aggression and violence ·
  • Maintain your personal safety

Module 5

Diagnosis and formulation

  • Recall the broad categories of psychiatric illness
  • Define the most common psychiatric illnesses and their diagnostic criteria
  • Suggest differential diagnoses for patients following history and examination
  • Explain the principles of psychiatric formulation
  • Write a biopsychosocial formulation
  • Recommend relevant investigations for common psychiatric presentations.

Module 6


  • Know the common categories and broad mechanisms of action of psychotropic medications
  • Know the indications for common psychotropic medications
  • Identify potential risks and adverse effects associated with common psychotropic medications
  • Recommend investigations for monitoring of safety and efficacy of psychotropic medications

Module 7

Physical health

  • Appreciate the association between physical health and serious mental illness
  • Identify physical health complications of common psychotropic medications
  • Suggest appropriate physical health investigations for people with mental illness

Module 8

Mental health law

  • Know the principles of the Mental Health Act
  • Identify when and how the MHA applies to common clinical situations
  • Know the principles of the Mental Capacity Act
  • Identify when and how the MCA applies to common clinical situations
  • Perform a competent assessment of decisional capacity

Course schedule

Target audience
Physician associates
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Commission options
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Group bookings

Discounted rates are available for group bookings. Please contact us for more information. Maudsley Learning has a full range of courses to meet the needs of your organisation. Most can be delivered to you flexibly and tailored to your requirements.

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Bespoke courses

We are able to offer custom-made programs, whether digital or face to face, to meet the education and training needs of your organisation in the UK or internationally.

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We value research and knowledge-sharing and will continue to contribute to the literature base on mental health education, addressing important research questions in this exciting field.