Frequently Asked Questions

Hi there, We like to think our site is pretty user friendly, but we appreciate there are times when things go wrong or you simply need a little help.

With this in mind we’ve put together some examples of previous enquiries along with some useful answers. In the event your issue is not covered here please contact us.

If your enquiry is taking longer than expected, please get back in touch - we may have simply overlooked your initial email.

BISdefinition can provide standard assurances about what the data will be used for and matched with. The evaluation team will also provide assurances about how they handle data and pilots will also have local responsibility/ agreements in place. The evaluation team will need to identify individuals to match their data but will never report on named individuals.

You have to develop a safe system to collect, store and report information locally and then the evaluation team can supply a form of words and a secure system for transfer of data to the evaluation team. Make sure you ask people about it especially if you think it is putting them off and find out what would make it better for them/gain their trust more.

Yes, because BISdefinition and the evaluation team want to be able to tell what it is that makes a positive difference for people and if different groups of people find different things helpful. The evaluation team will be able to capture information about courses to some extent using data from the Individual Learner Record, which will be matched with the learner survey through the Unique Learner Number. However, the evaluation team will also include a question on the broad type of course learners are undertaking  (1:1, manage your condition, CL classes, top-up sessions) in the learner survey, in case the ILR data is not complete or sufficient.

The mental health tools (PHQ9, GAD7 and SWEMWBS) should be completed when learners have access to a member of staff to help them with any queries. They can be completed over the phone, on paper or on-line. If someone indicates they are at risk then you need to talk to them about it. That might not happen if completed at home.

You do not need a tutor to give the form to a learner - it can be a volunteer or other team member.

If someone shares something (not just on the PHQ9 scale) that indicates they are at risk of suicide you shoudl not leave it, but remember you cannot simply 'refer' someone. You can recommend that someone goes to and you can offer to help them do so/refer them but you cannot force them/make it a condition of your provision unless you have asked them to sign to that effect as part of your safeguarding procedures. If someone discloses something that is a safeguarding issue then you will have to follow your safeguarding procedures but be careful that you are sensitive to the context and what they are saying.

The learner survey can be completed either on location or at home - this will be at pilots' discretion. However, it is crucial that the initial survey is completed before or at the very beginning of the course so that it can act as a baseline assessment. The evaluation team suggest that paper forms be completed on site to avoid them being misplaced or forgotten at home (and therefore not returned to the evaluation team), but that the online version of the survey can be completed at home as an alternative if learners or pilots prefer this.

No. Don't wait. Start delivery as soon as possible.

Use this as an opportunity to get your process right. Ask learners now how it feels to complete the mental health tools (PHQ9, GAD7, WEMWBS) and learn from their responses. Remember to ensure that there is someone in your team to help people who need help to complete them but remember these are self-assessment tools for learners. Your 'administration' is making sure they are available, giving them out, collecting them back in,  discussing them, thanking people for them and keeping their scores stored safely for transfer to the evaluation team.

When the learner survey is distributed, you will also need to get each learner to complete that at the beginning and end of their course.

The management information (MI) data will link all episodes of learning undertaken as part of the pilot through using the Unique Learner Number (ULNdefinition). Individuals will be assessed at the beginning and end of courses. It will only be mandatory for learners to complete these forms for one course. However, if they roll into another course it is optional for the pilot to ask them to complete a further follow-up questionnaire, which will capture improvements over the course of the pilot rather than over a single course.

IAPTdefinition uses these tools after every intervention and if your pilot becomes sustainale there is every chance you will want to continue to capture evidence of mental health outcomes at particualr intervals not just as evidence for you/your funder but as self-assessment feedback for the individual learner and/or for different courses.

But please remember it is important to ensure that people are not always seen/monitored in terms of mental health outcomes', for example, progressing to your mainstream learning is an outcome and an exit from this pilot (to be counted); this would be the point to stop asking a learner to complete the mental health outcomes self-assessments.

Every individual learner must be entered on the ILR (if you do not enter them they will not count in your numbers), and the mental health tools (PHQ9, GAD7 and WEMWBS) need to be completed at the beginning and end of each course as a minimum. If the course is more than 3 weeks long they need to be done halfway through the course too. There will also be a learner survey to be completed at the beginning and end of each course. Training and guidance in administering the tool will be provided. However, if you run tasters you may decide to take a hit on these (as though they are marketing rather than learning activities) and then not ask them any questions.

The evaluation team would like to see this, in whatever format you have it and are able to share it (this may be in aggregate form only). Please let us know what information you are collecting, and how this is being collected, so that the evaluation team can consider the best ways to access this.

The evaluation team understand that plans may change from what was envisaged in application forms, but are interested in learning lessons from the pilot, so  want to know about how much demand there has been for the courses. BISdefinition want to see explanations for deviations from the original numbers. If there is a significant difference (more learners hopefully but possibly less) we will of course also be interested in the story of why and what lessons you have learned that may be useful to others/year2/BIS going forward.  For those providers that secured more than 1 pilot BIS will expect to see added value coming through in activity and quality. 

BISdefinition would like to see a record of what you've been doing on your webpages. There will some additional questions on workforce activity in the pilot monitoring information you return to the evaluation team. Workforce development will be explored further during the evaluation team's case study visits. BIS or the evaluation team may ask for additional information especially around unplanned outcomes and value for money. Pilots are required to get their learning provider staff involved in workforce development to complete the online equalities questionnaire. This was explained at the inception meeting and the links are provided on the website. So far numbers of staff doing this are small so please ensure this is being undertaken. We will be looking for evidence of added value/cost efficiency savings from providers who are delivering more than one pilot.


Thanks. Yes you decide how often you receive notiifcations from MHFEdefinition. Choose from:

  • Every hour
  • Twice a day
  • Daily or
  • Weekly 

Did you know that as well as changing the frequency you can also pick news up from the MHFEdefinition website rather than receiving it as an email?

All you need to do to change either of these is:

  1. Login to MHFE, click on your name (under  ‘online users’ in the right hand sidebar)
  2. Click ‘edit’ (which is the second tab)
  3. Scroll down to ‘Messaging and Notifications settings, then using the drop down lists select: 
  • Whether you want to receive notifications by email or to pick them up when you login to MHFE
  • How often you want to receive notifications
  • Check the ‘auto subscribe’ option (so that you receive notifications for any threads you create/post to)

     4. Scroll to the bottom and click ‘save’.  That's it, done!

OMGoodness! I am so sorry about the headaches. Thanks for telling me.

However, if you put your feet up tonight instead of working (as I know from previous emails you often do) then by tomorrow morning all will be well for you hopefully on .

The black background for the reading pane was never intentional but an e-gremlin that crept in along the way. I didn't dare risk having no site to launch last Tuesday so went with what we had (ironically would you believe it still conformed to the web accessibility standards!).

We have been working on a fix  on a 'copy' site and will be installing it late tonight i.e. when we think most of our visitors will be in bed asleep (it's a bit like being an e-Santa). As you’ll see the reading pane will acquire a white background, which will hopefully be easier for everyone.

Image of a MHFE web page with white background for the reading pane

Let me know if it improves things won’t you.

Are you OK for me to add this Q (and reply) in an anonymised format to the FAQs for the site? (It’s the first one we’ve had)

Thanks again













What is Twitter?

Twitter is a social network that has snowballed in popularity. Like any social network it is used to link friends, fans, and people with common interests - like mental health and learning!

What are the benefits of Twitter?

Twitter’s distinctive feature is that it limits messages (called tweets) to 140 characters. This means you can't easily have long conversations, but makes Twitter a great tool for resource sharing. The short messages make Twitter manageable for busy people and its simple format works well on mobile phones, making it easy to use when on the move.

Why does a mental health and learning e-project use Twitter?

Twitter is great for sharing information – which it what we use it for on the e-project site:

Resource Sharing:

  • News stories
  • TV/Radio programmes
  • Government policy documents
  • Important articles and publications
  • Resources developed by key organisations in the field

Announcements :

  • E-project webinars
  • Maintenance work on the e-project site
  • Updated articles/material on the e-project site
  • Flagging up interesting conversations going on in the forum
  • Training events and conferences run by us and other key organsiations

How is your Twitter feed different from your Forums?

We don’t tend to use Twitter as a discussion forum. The technology behind Twitter uses makes it hard to hold group debates and for everyone to get involved. Our forums are much better suited for this, so they are where we hang out, chat, share ideas and build friendships. Twitter is where we keep each other in the loop about important developments in mental health and learning.  

I’ve looked at Twitter and I’m confused! Is there a guide to how to use it?

Yes! Twitter is very simple to use, but can take some getting used to. There are plenty of excellent guides for people interested in learning how to Tweet.  The official guide to twitter is a good starting point, and this YouTube video is a great introduction for more visual/audio learners. Your local library will likely have a book about Twitter, or be able to order you one.

I really hate Twitter and social networking, but the information you send out sounds useful. Is there another way I can get to it?

The key information on our twitter feed will also be included in our e-bulletin.

Please visit for further details and to nominate your learners.