Making Every Contact Count for Mental Health across the North Project
RSPH and NHSE Workforce, Training and Education directorate (NHSE WTE) North have developed a project focusing on mental health promotion across the North of England. The project is focused on upskilling the frontline non-specialist workforce in primary and community care settings to become more health promoting. This is done by using a Making Every Contact Count (MECC) approach whereby they are able to integrate purposeful mental health conversations into everyday conversations with the public.
Embedding the MECC approach and promoting mental health are current national strategic priorities for the health system, and the effects of COVID-19 on population health have made this even more urgent. Estimates say that 20% of adults and 15% of children need mental health support now and in the coming years (Centre for Mental Health, 2020). MECC for Mental Health is well placed to support organisations interested in tackling this challenge through evidence-based mental health training that develops knowledge, skills and confidence to integrate relevant messages and interventions into routine practice.
Who is this project aimed at?
The project is aimed at frontline non-specialist staff working in primary and community care settings includes, but not limited to, those working in:
- Social prescribing
- GP surgeries
- Primary care services based at hospitals such as GUM clinics
- Community pharmacy
- Health and social care
- District nursing
- Falls services
- Health visiting
- School nursing
- Emergency services such as ambulance and fire services etc.
- Allied health professionals
- Frontline workers based in the VCSC sector delivering NHS commissioned primary and community care services.
Phase One Evaluation Report
The report offers an overview of how Royal Society for Public Health, in partnership with NHSE WTE North West and North East & Yorkshire, designed and delivered the MECC for Mental Health training programme to frontline health and care professionals. Embedding the MECC approach and promoting mental health and wellbeing are current national priorities for the health system. To support this, to date the project has developed and delivered a fully tested training programme to over 1000 delegates including 12 Lead Trainers and 100 Trainers.
The independent evaluation of the training, also included in the report, demonstrates both the interest in the training offer and promising results in terms of increasing confidence to have conversations about mental health, and changing professional practice to include them daily.
Based on need and demand, the project has delivered three additional developments:
- An adaptation of the core training programme to Cancer Settings
In collaboration with Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, the MECC for mental health training was contextualised to be used in Cancer Settings with the aim of normalising mental health and mental illness support for cancer patients.
- An adaptation of the core training programme to Stroke Care Pathways
In collaboration with a team from Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, this adaptation has developed tailored case studies, signposting links and the MECC approach to consider communication difficulties stroke survivors might experience.
- A module supporting conversations about menopause and mental health
MECC for Menopause is an additional module that can be delivered as part of the core programme or as a stand-alone training module. It aims to promote conversations about menopause and to promote appropriate support within primary and community care services, the workplace and beyond. Find out more and register your interest for MECC for Menopause training.
Beginning in July 2022, and running until June 2023, phase two of the project will be rolled out in the North West of England. The aim is to recruit a further 26 new Lead Trainers and up to 130 new Trainers from primary and community care organisations.
Furthermore, the project will develop a quality assurance and registration scheme to ensure ongoing high-quality delivery of training by participant organisations.
North East and Yorkshire
Beginning in March 2023, and running until May 2024, phase two of the project will be rolled out in the North East of England and Yorkshire. The aim is to recruit a further 12 new Lead Trainers and up to 56 new Trainers.
This programme will also work with independent evaluators from the University of East Anglia to investigate the potential cost-benefit of the impact MECC approach by assessing currently collected data.
For more information about this work please contact Nelly Araujo on [email protected]