Chris Attoe

Chris Attoe, Head of Research & Development, Maudsley Learning, South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, highlights the need for mental health training resources

Mental health awareness is an increasingly talked about topic, from a dedicated week in May, to governmental policy, and even causes receiving support from the royal family. These efforts seek to remind us that at least one in four people experience a mental health problem during their life. Consequently, poor mental health is the largest cause of disability in the UK, and everyone from the public to healthcare professionals should be more aware of this.

But why is mental health awareness so important? Surely the answer is that awareness is the first step towards prevention of mental illness and promotion of mental health. Prevention and promotion seek to help everyone live well for longer and provide a sustainable way to improve people’s mental health.

An important step towards prevention and promotion in mental health is education and training to support people to work towards these goals, and positively impact the health of others. While education and training is not always the answer, and is by no means a complete answer in itself, it is often an important step in moving forward an agenda and building momentum towards social change and shifting attitudes and behaviours.

Public Mental Health Training Resources

Health Education England’s Public Mental Health programme has commissioned Maudsley Learning, part of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) to deliver a project supporting the development and dissemination of mental health promotion and prevention training resources.

Maudsley Learning is a mental health training provider that brings together the clinical, educational, and research expertise of SLaM and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at King’s College London. Maudsley Learning aim to deliver high quality mental health training that can improve people’s mental health across a range of settings.

This project, as specified by Health Education England, will lead to following outputs being delivered by November:

  • An updated training directory including available evidence-based training provision;
  • A quality marker checklist to assess the existing public health training programmes and guide new training development;
  • A gap analysis of available resources with recommendations to address those identified;
  • A communication strategy to disseminate this work.

This work seeks to provide evidence and understanding to guide policy relating to commissioning and delivery of public mental health training and resources. Particularly relating to the quality of resources as we see an increasing number available, guidance and information on this important area may be of use to those interested in working towards improved mental health in any populations.

In the early stages of the work, gathering the experiences and knowledge of those working in mental health, public health, healthcare education, and associated fields is essential. We are particularly keen to hear from trainers, public mental health workers, people with lived experience of mental health conditions, and those with experience of developing training resources.

Join the discussion

As such we are requesting your help and involvement in several ways:

  • Please complete this brief online survey to provide details on any training resources that you are aware of
  • Email Chris Attoe to register your interest to attend a focus group on either 24th or 25th July in London to discuss public mental health training (or for any further info on this project)

This work relies on support and contributions from dedicated, motivated individuals who are keen to see improved efforts to helping people achieve better mental health. Taking one of these steps will allow us to ensure this project is as effective as possible.

We look forward to hearing from you, and do watch this space over the coming months as we will be updating on this project’s progress!

Maybe there is even space in our calendars for a Mental Health Promotion Week in future…