Evaluation of Mind's mental health and resilience training for new recruits to the Blue Light sector

Huxley C, Wilson S, Gay R, Hey L |   | Mind | Oct 2018

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This report contains the findings from our evaluation of Mind's training interventions for new recruits in the Blue Light services in England and Wales. New recruits in the emergency services face particular pressures as they transition into their roles, such as the challenges of maintaining social relationships, managing changes in lifestyle brought about by shift working, and dealing with external pressures such as probation periods and exams. What's more, other research amongst trainee paramedics has shown that early intervention could significantly reduce the likelihood of an individual experiencing mental health problems later in their career.

In this context, Mind, the mental health charity, introduced a series of training courses as part of the third phase of its Blue Light programme. Our evaluation involved a mixed-methods approach, comprising of three waves of surveys, in-depth qualitative interviews, training observations and focus groups following the first part of the two-part training.

The report outlines key findings including approval rates of the training, the challenges posed by competing priorities of new recruits and their impact on attendance of non-compulsory training, and how previous experience of mental health problems increased chances of a new recruits attending the training.

The training for new recruits was reported to have improved understanding of ways to build resilience amongst new recruits, whilst also allowing them to reflect on what problems were in their domain of control, ie the problems which they could realistically intervene to solve, and those which were better left to other professionals. The report also highlights the role of senior managers in emphasising the importance of the training to staff, in order to achieve a more representative balance of genders and improve under-representation of some groups in this non-compulsory training.