RSPH has announced the results of a national pilot evaluation of the Connect 5 cascade training programme for frontline health and care staff and the wider public health workforce. The evaluation found promising improvements in the knowledge, confidence and skills of participating staff in talking about and supporting individuals with mental wellbeing issues.
The Connect 5 Train the Trainers programme, funded by Health Education England (HEE), has been delivered across nine English regions over the past 12 months. Using the framework of the Five Ways to Wellbeing and a cognitive behavioral model, it aims to empower non-specialist health and care staff to have conversations with their patients or clients about mental wellbeing which they may previously have seen as off limits or outside of their remit, despite their profound knock on effects on almost all other areas of health and wellbeing.
While one in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year, Connect 5 aims to take the strain off under pressure specialist mental health services by taking a preventative approach which enables people to better manage their own mental health, increase their resilience and ultimately improve wellbeing. Where a diagnosable mental health condition is identified, frontline staff will also know when and how to refer on to more specialist support.
Results of the national Connect 5 pilot include:
- 143 trainers trained across England and from 93 organizations
- 109 participants trained across 12 cohorts and 18 sessions in total, with participants showing promising improvements in knowledge, confidence and commitment to brief mental wellbeing interventions.
- An increase in staff knowledge and understanding of mental health and wellbeing; a change in attitudes towards supporting individuals to improve mental health and wellbeing, and an increase of confidence in having conversations about mental health and wellbeing.
- A further 17 Connect 5 programmes are planned for delivery to a further 117 participants over the next months. With a national evaluation and monitoring system now having been developed, and additional funding being leveraged by some centres to extend the scheme, Connect 5 has the potential to play an increasingly important role in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of the nation.
Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive, RSPH said: “On World Mental Health Day, we are pleased to announce such promising results from the Connect 5 pilot. If we are to tackle the mental health crisis in this country and truly achieve the ‘parity of esteem’ so frequently espoused by politicians and policy makers alike, it is crucial that we empower the wider public health workforce to have conversations about mental wellbeing as confidently as they would about physical health, and that is fundamentally what Connect 5 aims to do.”
Gregor Henderson, National Lead for Wellbeing and Mental Health, Public Health England said: “Connect 5 is relevant to a wide range of frontline staff who work with people at risk of poor mental health. It provides participants with skills and competencies that build confidence in having conversations about mental health and wellbeing in their routine practice. It uniquely optimises opportunities for building a culture of self-management, prevention and improved access to psychological approaches for mental health and wellbeing.”