A network for anyone with an interest in
adult education and mental health

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Frequently Asked Questions

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No. Ofsted is very interested in the pilot outcomes but pilot provision will not be included in Ofsted inspection.

Pilots were informed of this fact at the inception meeting on 17.4.15. 

Q. We are proposing to run induction sessions for each course, where data collection and initial 1:1 support will take place. Do these need to be recorded as separate courses, to capture the 1:1 activity?

A. No.

An induction session for a course that a learner has signed up to/is starting is not the same thing as is meant by the 1:1 information, advice and guidance sessions on the monitoring information return (MIR).

The Community Learning Mental Health Pilot specification required you to include the following in your offer:

(1) Pre-course discussion - and 1:1 support - individual support for each course participant, according to length of course, to help them select their course, discuss progress and plan for progression to employment, vocational/academic training and/or fulfilling family and community life. These sessions should be 1:1 and take place in private. This is what is meant on the MIR by “ 1:1 IAG/assessment interview”.

(2) Short, part-time non-formal courses to help eligible learners experiencing mild to moderate mental health problems to develop the tools, strategies and resilience to:

  • manage and aid recovery from, mental health problems
  • reduce their use of medical services
  • re-engage with their families and communities
  • progress to further learning/training and/or
  • progress to work, or return to work.

These are what is meant on the MIR by:

  • Specific course to manage symptoms/condition
  • General ACL class

An induction session for any of these two types of courses, (i.e. a course that the learner is signed up to/starting) is simply that an induction session for a course and should not be recorded separately to their course.

(3) Informal ‘top-up’ mental health workshops, as required, for people who have
progressed from courses but need subsequent support at stressful times. This is what is meant by "Top-up/refresher session after completing a course’ on the MIR.

Each of the elements above must be recorded in learners' learning plans and be recorded separately on the MIR.

The decision  about year 2 funding depends on the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review in the Autumn. 

The November review will include: survey data for learners starting courses in September, and  October (online); mental health self-assessment scores for learners who have consented (in the required format) to these being shared;  anonymised scores for learners  have not consented in the required format and 3 case studies.

No. Do not send the mental health self assessment forms to Ipsos MORI. Keep them as part of your confidential learner records until the end of the pilot in case Ipsos MORI need to clarify any missing/unexpected information.

After the pilot, it is up to you if you want to hold the information on file for learners who might access mental health learning again in 2016/17. 

In the DfE E Adult Education | Mental Health research phase 2 (2016/17), we use people's self-assessment scores on PHQ9, GAD7 and SWEMWBS as:

  • Broad indicators of problems linked to mild to moderate mental health problems that the person says they would like to learn how to manage/manage better
  • Eligibility to  be included in the research (people who are not eligible receive the initial guidance offer and signposting to your mainstream offer and/or other kinds of services 
  • To measure self-assessed changes in their mental health that may result from  learning.

Generally speaking, this means the CLMH learning offer should be made to people who have mild to moderate mental health problems and would most likely meet the criteria for treatment by their GP including choice whether to be rreferred to IAPT services. 

Table showing how PHQ 9 scores are understood/interpreted by health services
PHQ9 score may mean the person has 
0 - 4 No mental health problems
5 - 9 Mild mental health problems / depression
10 - 14 Moderate mental health problems / depression
15 - 19 Moderately severe mental health problems / depression
20 - 27 Severe mental health problems / depression







GAD7 score may mean the person has
0 - 4 No mental health problems
5 - 10 Mild mental health problems / anxiety
11 - 15 Moderately severe mental health problems / anxiety
16 - 21 Severe mental health problems / anxiety

NICE guidelines recommend that people who score 10 or more on PHQ 9 and/or those who score 8 or more on GAD7 would benefit from CBT/referral to the IAPT service.

Your local IAPT service will follow the national NICE guidelines to decide who they will normally see/help, i.e. people with a score of 10 or more on PHQ9 and people with a score of 8 or more on GAD 7. People who score 20 or more on PHQ9 and  16 or more on GAD7 and individuals who have some other concomitant mental health conditions will usually (but not always) be referred to secondary mental health services for more intensive or different kinds of support.

We know that there is often also some local variation in which scores lead to referral/access to IAPT. This local variation can be criteria set by local commissioners or local mental health services and may depend on waiting list times and the availability and capacity of local services. 

The decision as to whether or not someone is accepted for IAPT services is never based solely on someone's score on the self-assessment scales. it is always also based on a clinical assessment of the person and their (his)tory. GPs and mental health services use a wider range of scales to help detect and measure changes in people with other mental health conditions. We have no intention of using any of these as research tools, and you must not get drawn into using them. We are not in the business of diagnosing mental health problems.

Our educational assessment carried out with the learner is similar but we cannot  afford to have lots of people accepted onto the research courses who do not meet the criteria for the research, but, it is worth noting that:

  • There is also some evidence that people in social groups that IAPT fails to reach may have lower scores, e.g. PHQ9 is less good at picking up latent depression and/or improvement in some groups like older people. That's one of the reasons why some IAPT services are beginning to use SWEMWBS as well for this group.
  • Many deaf people with a PHQ 9 score of 7 probably have latent depression, and IAPT would normally/hopefully see them, even if their hearing peers are not usually accepted with scores below 10.
  • Subthreshold depression is increasingly recognised as causing considerable morbidity and human and economic costs, and it is more common in people  with a history of major depression, whcih is a particualr known risk factor for future major depression

We (community learning services/providers/practitioners) do not have the necessary professional training, knowledge, skills or authority to make clinical assessments. That's a good thing, and we should never attempt to do so (even if a member of your staff also holds qualifications in a profession that is allied to medicine). If you have the necessary local partnership relationships, you may be able to offer to refer someone for assessment for access to mental health services. 

Eligibility to join the research in phase 2

For phase 2, we must strictly apply the research criteria for who can/cannot join the research. Those people whose PHQ9 and/or GAD 7 scores are in the green or amber ranges above are eligible to join the research. If someone scores anything for questions 8 and/or 9 on PHQ9 you need to assess them further first to see if they need mental health first aid/urgent/emergency help.

What to do when someone scores (anything) on question 8 or 9 on PHQ9

Questions 8 and 9 on PHQ9 ask:

"8. Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed? Or the opposite – being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving around a lot more than usual
9. Thoughts that you would be better off dead or of hurting yourself in some way"

Many people with mild to moderate mental health problems think about killing themselves, so it will nto be unusual for people who are eligible to join this research to score on questions 8 and/or 9 on PHQ9. If someone scores 1 or more on either or both of the final 2 questions on PHQ9, you must not ignore it. Mental health first aid or emergency referral/help may be needed. You should check that you and the learner understand exactly what the person is saying / the importance  of what the person has said about how they have been feeling. Ask if it is how they feel now (at that moment).  If they say they would still score on eitheror both questions, you should suggest to the person that they might want to see their GP  for help or ask if they would like you to speak to/refer them to a local partner agency for assessment/help.

Remember this is a choice. People have approached you voluntarily. You cannot force people to act on your advice or signposting. If you are concerned that there is imminent danger that they may do serious harm to themselves or others, then you need to follow the Mental Health First Aid protocol /call 999/use your safeguarding procedures as appropriate to help keep them (and/or others) safe

What we (community learning) offer and are qualified to provide is education - adult learning, including information, advice and guidance about local adult education opportunities. We are qualified to work with the person to help them decide if learning is right for them, and if it is, what kind of learning, where and when and whether the CLMH courses would suit and help them to better manage their mild to moderate mental health problems and to progress from learning.

As part of this process, we need to make it clear to potential learners that this is a research project. We do not know yet if it works (although Learn2B in Northants has had impressive results for many years).

If someone wants to sign up for this offer we need to check during the initial guidance session that they meet the criteria (by asking them to complete PHQ9, GAD 7 and SWEMWBS) in order to be included and that they agree to sign a consent and provide responses to PHQ9, GAD7, SWEMWBS and soem other questions about their circumstances and progression:

  • at the start of their first class
  • every 2 weeks during their course
  • each time they attend a top-up/refresher learning experience

There is no SWEMWBS 'score' that learners need to fall within to be involved in the project because SWEMWBS is designed to provide a population wellbeing measure. 

Before you start asking learners to complete PHQ9 and/or GAD7 scores you must complete training in how to use the tools, support learners to complete them, submit accurately completed results online for your local records and our research external evaluators. We will cover this in detail at the all-research sites training on 27/28 September and you must review the resources and the recording of the training webinar on 8.7.15 about how to use the tools and the alternate formats that are available at: http://bit.ly/CLMHP_3on1

Yes - as part of this pilot BIS require all pilot areas to use PHQ-9, GAD-7 and short WEMWBS with all learners. Any queries about this should be directed to BIS.

Yes - if you are unable to use WinZip for any reason, then we have alternative solutions. Please let your evaluation point of contact know that you will not be able to use WinZip.

Make an appropriately sensisitive response to show that you respect their decision. Invite the learner to destroy the form/take it away with them. 

There is a question in the  baseline survey. If we receive a minimum of 20 responses from your pilot Ipsos MORI will send you aggregated  data for your pilot  after the evaluation  finishes in April 2016.

Yes. You still need to use your existing enrolment form to collect learners'  information to complete the ILR

If a learner tells you they will be unable to attend the final timetabled session of a course then give them the final survey the last time they attend  or encourage them to compelte the online survey. 

If a learner 'drops out' record this in column 'H'  on the interim, final or easy read score sheets on the MIR. 

"Enter the learner's mental health self-assessment scores on the MIR for the pilot where they take their course/s. Complete and return the learner surveys for where they take their course. "

Yes. Complete a separate MIR for each pilot. 

We want you to provide 3 numbers in this section: (a) the  total number of staff employed by the lead (accountable ) provider (b) How many of these have benefitted from CLMHP workforce development. C) The total number of individuals who work for other (partner) organisations that have benefitted from CLMHP workforce development activities/training. 

No.  Explain to learners why results from the surveys are important locally/ nationally. Encourage them to complete all the questions, but remember it is entirely voluntary. 

No, because of data protection and the market research code of conduct. 

No. Pilots cannot have survey templates or pre-populate learners details on the survey forms. If a learner needs support to complete the survey forms then help them as you would for any other form. Otherwise do nothing to the forms.

The learner completes one set of surveys.

Use the interim surveys around the mid point of any course that is 6 or more taught weeks in length.

Do not ask learners on taster courses to complete the baseline survey. If you deliver a  short course on a single day and that is a 'full course' ask learners to complete the  baseline survye only. If these learners return or progress to a subsequent course ask them to complete the interim (if the course is 6 or more taught weeks) and/or final surveys only (i.e. do not repeat the baseline survey).  

Yes. Most questions are from national surveys  (so we can compare our findings). A few  have been developed for this pilot.

You don’t download forms for the surveys. Ipsos MORI will send you hard copies and links to the online surveys by 1st September. 

1st September 2015. If you do not receive them by this date email Catherine Crick at Ipsos MORI.

BIS 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 BIS 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 (ULN). 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.

IAPT 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. BIS 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. 

BIS 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 MHFE. 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!

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 www.alw.org.uk for further details and to nominate your learners.