Public health champions (2017)

    Training healthcare workers in Kings Health Partners to promote mental health

This pilot project, funded by our friends at Guy’s & St Thomas’s Charity, aimed to test our Champions training programme for use in healthcare settings, by training health workers across Kings Health Partners to use Mindapples materials to support their patients.

Since 2011, Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity has invested in Mindapples to help us develop and test our training programmes to promote mental health and wellbeing. These training programmes have been shown in controlled trials to increase the wellbeing and resilience of participants, and the success of the Mindapples “5-a-day for your mind” campaign has led to hundreds of organisations and individuals using our materials to promote public mental health.

This project aimed to put these materials to use in high priority public health settings, to fulfil King’s Health Partners’ objectives of delivering improved public mental health for people in Lambeth and Southwark.

The project

Mindapples adapted its Champions Training, which equips non­-clinical staff with knowledge and skills to promote mental health and wellbeing in their communities, to create a new professional qualification to help public health workers encourage and support people to take better care of their minds. With Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity’s support, Mindapples delivered this Champions Training to 40 public health workers in Lambeth and Southwark, and evaluated it using questionnaires and qualitative feedback.

The training was well received and well attended (no small feat for offering free training to busy NHS workers). There were no complaints and overwhelmingly excellent feedback from participants. We established that there was a clear need for and interest in training in mental health promotion and wellbeing amongst health and social care staff, particularly those in regular contact with the public. The training also aligned well with Lambeth and Southwark’s ‘Making every contact count’ and ‘Mind & Body’ programmes.

The success of this project suggests there is a cost-effective and valuable model for delivering public health and wellbeing support to the general public via the NHS. This support can be delivered by clinical and non-clinical staff in the course of their normal duties, as well as in more formal health training and advisory settings. We recommended further investment to scale up this training to wider audiences within the NHS and social care, and also to develop follow-up tools, support services and evaluation processes to mainstream this work into everyday health and social care practice.

The content of the Mindapples Champions Training also had benefits for improving staff wellbeing and team performance. There was no clear division between content that benefits staff and that benefits patients in this area of work. We therefore also recommended scaling up this training as part of workforce wellbeing initiatives, which appear to go hand-in-hand with improving patient health and wellbeing.

Overall, the pilot was very successful and discussions are ongoing about using this train-the-trainer model throughout the boroughs, particularly in Southwark, and in other healthcare Trusts and public services.

If you would like to trial this train-the-trainer model for mental health promotion in your borough or healthcare trust, please get in touch.