Face-to-face training increases confidence in dealing with mental health issues

IES News

24 Jun 2016

Face-to-face and webinar training can both be valuable tools for raising awareness of mental health at work, finds new IES research for mental health charity Mind. The study, which surveyed participants in Mind’s ‘Blue Light’ programme for emergency service professionals, found that understanding of mental health problems and relevant work factors improved significantly after face-to-face training. The Institute found that managers came away with a new appreciation of the prevalence of mental health problems in their profession and an understanding of the elements of their work that put people’s mental health at risk.

Positive changes in awareness, knowledge, attitudes and workplace behaviour were all reported to have occurred as a direct result of the training. Managers expressed increased confidence in supporting others and in starting conversations with people who may be showing signs of a mental health problem. There were also reported instances where managers felt that they had been able to spot warning signs in staff that they might otherwise have missed.

The bespoke approach that had been taken to ensure a ‘fit’ with each of the four Blue Light services was viewed as very important. Face-to-face training was found to be the most popular and accessible form of training, with bookings reaching capacity, but findings suggested that access to the webinars was hindered by IT access, often associated with software issues.

Commenting on the research, Sally Wilson, senior research fellow at IES, said ‘Our findings show that face-to-face training is a very effective means of reaching line managers in the Blue Light services, and equipping them to feel more confident about managing and responding to mental health issues.

‘We have also learned much about how web-based training and materials can be improved to meet the needs of participants. It is clear that such approaches need to be tailored to meet the technological capacity and working patterns of those they are intended to reach.’

IES report for Mind

Mind Blue Light evaluation summary report