Public Mental Health Programme Lead - Families, Children & Young People

An exciting opportunity has come up in the Mental Health Foundation for someone to lead our Programme of work for Families, Children & Young People.

We are looking to recruit an experienced and dynamic manager to head a talented team focused on developing and delivering public mental health projects in families, early life and schools. Reporting to the Deputy Director of Development and Delivery, this role will include working with teams to devise, develop and test evidence-based approaches to drive improvements in mental health for children and young people and influence attitudes and behaviour within the wider public that will support the prevention of mental health problems.

With strong public health and programme management or research skills, you will have a proven track record in achieving high performance in line with operational priorities. You will also be an experienced manager, capable of getting the most from your team.

You will need an understanding of the determinants of mental health in families and early life and of relevant national and local strategies and be dedicated to improving the mental health of all people and for populations at risk. This is a leadership position joining the Foundation at an exciting time of growth.

We are looking for a candidate with a long-term vision and motivation for the programme, as well as a person keen to champion and promote diversity across the Foundation’s programmes and work.

How to apply

Send a completed application form and equal opportunities monitoring form to by 12noon on Friday 23 February 2018.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview on the week commencing Monday 5 March 2018.

Job description

Main purpose of the job

  • Lead and manage the Families, Children & Young People development programme of the Development and Delivery Department. 
  • Ensure the effective and timely delivery of MHF’s programmes of work through supporting the Families, Children & Young People team.
  • Support the Assistant Director to produce the Development Programme’s operational plan and to translate this into impactful programmes of work based on the Foundation’s Business Model. This will include working with the teams to devise, develop and test evidence-based models and approaches that will drive improvements in mental health for children and young people and influence attitudes and behaviour within the wider public that will support the prevention of poor mental health and perinatal and parental mental health problems.
  • Identify and develop new areas of work in England (but also where relevant to work with colleagues in Wales and Scotland) that will enable the Foundation to achieve greater reach and impact and to raise income to invest in further mental health improvement activities. 
  • Support the Assistant Director and colleagues across other teams to apply a strategic approach to growing our national and international reputation and reach.  
  • Support the creation of communities of interest that can ensure that the work of the Foundation is informed by practice and lived experience. 
  • Champion and promote diversity across the Foundation’s programmes and work.

Principal tasks and responsibilities

  • Take a leadership role, with the Assistant Director, in developing, managing and ensuring the effective delivery of the Foundation’s Families, Children & Young People programme in line with the Strategic and Operational objectives and in partnership with colleagues across the Foundation and national offices. 
  • Establish and facilitate collaborative working links on mental health and perinatal/parental issues with all Foundation programme teams, and ensure that generic Foundation policy is informed by the views and experiences of families at risk or facing mental ill health challenges. 
  • Identify opportunities for new programmes of work, develop new ideas and lead and oversee the team in developing and submitting proposals for funding that serve the Foundation’s mission and generate income. 
  • Contribute to the development of the Development Programme’s operational plan and Foundation’s strategic plan.
  • Initiate and develop strategic relationships and to promote the Foundation’s messages with key influential stakeholders.
  • Represent the Foundation at events and conferences and within external working groups and coalitions, and to support Foundation colleagues in fulfilling this role in relation to key areas of specialism as required.
  • Make an effective contribution to the Foundation, contributing the maintenance and improvement of skills, knowledge, policies and practices ensuring that the learning is applied and developed as new projects are conceived and implemented.
  • Support the recruitment of and to manage team staff, including regular 1:1 supervision, coaching, appraisal, team building, training and development.
  • Work within the Foundation’s operational framework of delegated authorities, financial management and decision making and ensure all staff understand these.
  • Recruit and manage any consultants or advisors required to support work within the Families, Children & Young People programme and ensure they deliver timely, high quality and cost-effective work. 
  • Identify opportunities to recruit and manage associates, interns and volunteers.
  • Work with the Assistant Director and the Director to prepare the programme’s annual budget and contribute to the Development Programme’s operational plan.
  • Work with the Assistant Director, Director and Fundraising colleagues to identify future funding opportunities and risks (including financial risks). 
  • Support the Families, Children & Young People input into a practitioner engagement network to ensure that our work is practice informed  and learning effectively disseminated to those in services who can help us work to prevent or reduce the risk of mental health problems (teachers, health and social care staff). 
  • Deliver the agreed outcomes in the department’s operational plan.
  • Ensure that accurate records are kept on programme work, financial commitments authorised, and regular budget monitoring takes place. 
  • Ensure effective project management within the Families, Children & Young People programme.
  • Ensure that reporting requirements to funders are met and projects within the Families, Children & Young People programme stay on course, time and budget.
  • Ensure colleagues and senior managers are kept up to date with progress and developments.
  • Work with External Affairs colleagues to help tell a persuasive story of the Development and Delivery of programmes for the general public, media and supporters in a variety of media, and to generate resources addressed at the public.
  • Ensure that the results of work are successfully communicated to external and internal audiences, have impact and move our strategy and knowledge forward.
  • Lead or contribute to groups working on issues which cross-departmental boundaries.


  • Promote and support the achievement of the Foundation’s mission, goals and values.
  • Act as a positive ambassador for the Foundation in all opportunities.
  • Maintain a high standard of probity in professional, personnel and financial matters, maintaining good relations with colleagues and external partners and to act in accordance with the foundation’s code of conduct.
  • Uphold and promote the foundation’s commitment to equality and diversity and the value of lived experience. 
  • Have due regard to safeguarding and health and safety issues and to provide leadership on these issues within programmes.
  • Act on behalf of the Assistant Director when they are unavailable and within agreed delegated authority.
  • Undertake any other duties as may reasonably be required.

This job description is not contractual and is liable to change over time.

Person specification


Skills and Abilities
  • Educated to a postgraduate degree in public health, clinical psychology or other relevant field or strong evidence of equivalent experience.
  • Excellent planning and organisational skills including programme planning, costing, prioritisation and time management.
  • Excellent programme management skills to motivate, guide and develop staff to achieve high performance in line with operational goals and priorities.
  • Good budget creation and financial management skills.
  • Strong intellectual and critical analysis skills.
  • Excellent strategic relationship development and management skills with a wide range of funders, stakeholders and partners.
  • Excellent ambassadorial skills to represent the Foundation.
  • Strong ability to create innovative solutions that are evidence-based and practice and lived experience informed.
  • Demonstrable experience of public health research or applied work in early life mental health or a relevant area.
  • Strong experience of managing project staff.
  • Good experience of complex budget development and management.
  • Strong experience of successfully delivering complex programmes in a relevant field.
  • Strong experience of developing funding applications and reporting on progress to funders.
  • Knowledge of the relationship between mental health and related issues affecting families and early life.
  • Knowledge of national and local government strategies relevant to mental health prevention for children and young people.
  • Knowledge of health and social care services, public health and local government bodies.
  • Knowledge of appropriate ways to seek the views and knowledge of stakeholder groups, including people with lived experience of these issues.


  • Understanding of clinical practice with families and children, from any relevant professional capacity.
  • Experience of working co-productively with young people.
  • Knowledge of a wide range of services, research and individuals within the world of child and adolescent mental health and work with families.

Requirements of all roles at the Mental Health Foundation

  • Willingness to work flexibly to meet the reasonable needs of the Mental Health Foundation.
  • Commitment to working in accordance with the Mental Health Foundation’s values.
  • Prepared on occasions to work unsocial hours.
  • Self-sufficient in use of information and communications technology.
  • Ability to self-manage a full and varied workload.

Competencies for working at the Mental Health Foundation

We expect all employees to be able to use these competences to a high level in their roles. During the recruitment process, at interview stage, we look for evidence of all these competencies.

  • Expertise, knowledge and analysis.
  • Communication, influencing and promotion.
  • Relationships and partnership working.
  • Service focused.
  • Business aware.
  • Strategic thinking and decision making.
  • Leadership.
  • Adaptability and personal responsibility.
  • Innovative and creative.
  • Committed to personal development.

Equal opportunities information

As an equal opportunities employer, we encourage applications from all sections of the community, whatever your background.

We value each and every person in our team and are very good at working with people. Our workforce is made up of talented individuals from all sections of the community and we are committed to providing a working environment that encourages, and is supportive of, workers with mental health problems. We therefore welcome applications from anyone with personal experience of mental distress or learning disabilities, and positively encourage people with experience of using mental health services to apply.

We believe the way in which we effectively work together will enable our charity to fulfil its mission.

This commitment to equality and diversity means that we benefit from the widest range of experience and talent, and are fully representative of the world in which we live. We aim to create a working environment in which everyone is treated in a non-discriminatory manner.

Recruitment agencies may be employed as appropriate. We ensure that all such agencies operate an equal opportunities policy comparable to that used by us.

Benefits of working for us

The Mental Health Foundation is a great place to work and offers generous benefits.

All our members of staff are entitled to the following benefits. Please note that some of the benefits are available after a qualifying probation period.


We consider it important to encourage people to save for their retirement and therefore we provide staff (after successful completion of a probation period) with a 10% pension contribution paid into an Age on Personal Pension. Contributions can be invested in a variety of funds according to your investment preference, or alternatively a default fund is available. Staff will also receive death in service life cover at four times salary.

Annual leave

Staff receive 25 days annual leave plus bank holidays.

Maternity/parental leave

Enhanced maternity/parenthood leave entitlements are in place, including extended maternity leave and benefits. Available after a qualifying period.

Flexible working/work life balance

The right to request flexible working is available to all employees. There are a number of different flexible working arrangements available throughout the organisation, which can be arranged by mutual consent.

Child Care Vouchers

This is a flexible way to meet the costs of your childcare. Part of your salary can be given up or ‘sacrificed’ in exchange for Childcare Vouchers. Within specified limits, these vouchers are non-taxable and exempt from National Insurance contributions and therefore present a saving for employees who receive them as part of their total employment package. The Childcare Vouchers received are then exchanged, in whole or part, for the approved and registered childcare services you use.


We are required to make statutory sickness payments (SSP) where staff qualify. We also have our own sick pay scheme, including full pay for a period subject to certain conditions.

Employee Assistance Service

At times staff members may face and need help with a variety of issues throughout their lives. As part of our commitment to staff members we provide a 24/7 independent and confidential counselling and information telephone service, free of charge. Support is available on a range of issues including legal, financial, emotional, health issues and work-related concerns.

Season ticket loan

Interest free loans are available to purchase season tickets for the journey between home and work.

Cycle to Work Scheme

The Cycle to Work scheme is a UK Government tax exemption initiative introduced in the Finance Act 1999 to promote healthier journeys to work and to reduce environmental pollution. It allows employers to loan cycles and cyclists' safety equipment to employees as a tax-free benefit.

Through the scheme, employees will be able to purchase a bike of a value of up to £1,111, repaid over 18 months through deductions from your gross monthly salary. The loan will be interest free and the benefit will be offered after successful completion of the probationary period.