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Impact Active Minds - Harrow CLMH research had on staff

A DfE Community Learning | Mental Health Research site (2015/17)

Staff training and CPD

All staff connected to the project had a minimum requirement of training and CPD consisting of:

  • Mental Health First Aid
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults
  • Prevent
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Data Security

In addition, we offered all tutors and research assessors training in how to use the standard scheme of work, lesson plans and Discovering Potential wheels. Research assessors were also provided with training in delivey of the assessments.

Impact on staff

There are 3 recurring impacts that are mentioned time and time again by Active Minds staff that have had a positive impact on their ways of working, their own mental health and the way they relate to learners

  1. The “permission to talk about mental health” with learners and to tackle difficult conversations in classrooms where people are very likely to have mental health issues (e.g. ESOL for asylum seekers etc.)
  2. Good robust training and support around safeguarding of vulnerable learners with processes that have now been tested by tutors and staff who have gained confidence in dealing with safeguarding issues.
  3. An increasing belief that the work tutors and other support staff do on the ground can have lasting positive outcomes for learners – as learners tell assessors and tutors about how they feel after a course as well as about the skills and social support networks they have gained. 

Assessor feedback

I thoroughly enjoyed being part of this research project. Initially I was unsure how I would be able to deliver the assessments questionnaires due to the seemingly intrusive nature of some of the questions, however I quickly realised this was my own prejudice and a potential barrier to being able to support the volunteers. I quickly discovered the volunteers were very open and honest and felt the need to share their experiences and their individual situations. For many it was the first time they had had the opportunity to speak to someone willing to listen without judgement and who cared. For others it was their belief and willingness to share their feelings, thought and experiences for the good of the research project. I looked forward to catching up with the volunteers at each assessment point and they stated the same for themselves. The Discovering Potential Wheel enabled the volunteers to reflect at each assessment point and realise the difference attending the course was having on their mental health and general well-being, even though there were sometimes many tears. The last assessment point was a mixture of tears and laughter, jubilation and grief. Most volunteers didn’t want the course to end and felt bereft.  All the volunteers thoroughly enjoyed the course they had attended and were asking when the next course would start.  The volunteers valued the support and guidance to seek support from other professional services and reported back when they had sought help. The positive impact on the volunteers by attending the courses was visible on the volunteers’ faces and very apparent through their feedback and gratitude. Working on this project has changed my prejudices towards mental health and has made me a better person. It has been a very worthwhile enjoyable learning experience.

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