I cannot thank RSPH and HEE enough for allowing me to take the MECC training it has been invaluable and will allow me to practice more confidently.”

What made you decide to get involved?

The opportunity arose to apply via HEE student council. I have a passion for mental health – especially within maternity services. I wanted to gain further tools to have in my kit to enable me to provide better care for women and their families. In addition to this I wanted to be able to help my fellow cohort and myself, as we are all engaged within a very highly stressed degree.

In your view what is the strategic case for MECC for Mental Health?

In my opinion, the MECC for mental health approach would be highly useful within maternity services. At the moment, when we ask women at their booking appointments about their mental health, the questions seem very intrusive and scripted. I do feel there is definite room for improvement within maternity services and the way we approach women’s mental health.

I also feel that the MECC approach will be a fantastic tool for all university students undergoing their degrees. Specifically, health degrees – due to the high demand on their time to undertake placement, meet deadlines, gain proficiencies and keep up with required placement hours.

How did you train to become a MECC for Mental Health trainer?

I trained to become an MECC trainer online via teams, over 2 days. The whole training package from start to finish was fantastic! The information given was insightful and it led to some fascinating discussions with other trainers and the lead trainer. The journals which we followed were good, they allowed us to follow scenarios and we were then encouraged to provide various strategies and it really made us think about the language which we use when having conversations around mental health. 

The main highlight for me was the immediate confidence I felt post training – I felt as though I had been given the tools needed to be able to hold more effective conversations around mental health, both in practice and with my peers. I know feel as though I can create those sometimes-difficult situations with women throughout the antenatal, intrapartum and post-natal continuum.

The support I have received from RSPH and HEE throughout and since my training has been invaluable.

How was the experience of organising and delivering MECC for Mental Health training?

I have been very lucky when it came to delivering the training for MECC for Mental Health as my university (University of Cumbria) have been so supportive of this. I had the privilege of holding an MECC workshop to attendees from all 3 midwifery student year groups on campus.

It was quite empowering to deliver the training to the students as some of the tools – especially regarding the water barrel and coping strategies for stress – were received well by them. I have had some positive verbal feedback from the attendees since the workshop. I have also been informed that the MECC approach is something that the university are interested in bringing into the curriculum in the near future.

Can you provide a brief description of the group/s you delivered the training to? 

The training was delivered in a classroom setting on the Carlisle campus at the University of Cumbria.

The training was delivered to 27 students over to workshops (1 in the AM and 1 in the PM).

The students which attended were midwifery students from years 1, 2 and 3.

Only a small number of the students were familiar with MECC, and this training will have been extremely helpful to them. Not only to allow them to recognise ways to help with their own mental health, but it will also give them the tools needed when providing care in both community and clinical settings.

The training I provided lasted just over 2 hours in total and it was focused particularly on maternity scenarios – antenatal, intrapartum and post natally.

How do you think the training has been received by participants?

After the workshop I received some very positive feedback from the participants, a majority of whom explained that they are now more aware of their language when speaking about mental health. There was also an overwhelming reply regarding them now having tools when dealing with their own personal mental health, and how to adopt more positive coping strategies and knowing the signposting should they need it.

What difference do you think MECC for Mental Health will bring to the people you trained?

I feel like the training I provided to the students will be extremely helpful. I know that they now have the same tools which I have picked up to confidently provide open and non-judgemental conversations with the woman they care for in community and clinical settings.

I also know that they now know who to speak to should they need any help themselves regarding their own mental health, and I provided them with my contact details and placed myself in the position of being there to listen to them or signpost them should they need it