Virtual training launched to combat spike in mental ill health

A leading health and wellbeing organisation is on a mission to support more people with their mental health through effectively training their managers and staff, and equipping them with skills to recognise those who may be struggling.

Earlier this year, Paycare launched its MHFA England course which saw attendees become Mental Health First Aiders, meaning they could spot the potential symptoms of mental ill health, listen non-judgementally, signpost to relevant services, and respond in a crisis.

Now, with guidance from Mental Health First Aid England, these courses will be offered virtually to enable businesses to remotely complete this essential training delivered by Wellbeing Manager Kerry Mitchell, an MHFA England trainer.

She said: “It’s predicted at least half a million more people will experience mental ill health in the aftermath of Coronavirus1, so it’s more essential than ever for businesses to have support plans in place.

“As part of a comprehensive Wellbeing Strategy, having Mental Health First Aiders within your team acts as reassurance for all, and can be invaluable in recognising a decline in a person’s mental health – and of course supporting them going forward.

“It’s a legal obligation for companies to have first aiders in case of a physical injury or illness which occurs during work-hours, but with one in four of us experiencing mental ill health in any given year – and numbers set to rise as a result of Covid-19 – it’s more essential than ever to have mental health first aiders too.

“Not only does offering this virtual training mean we can resume courses while Covid-19 safety protocols remain in place, but it also allows removes the need for travel to and from a certain location so it opens the courses up to businesses from absolutely anywhere.”

The course takes 15 hours to complete, delivered via a blending learning mixture of individual learning and live video sessions with Kerry, and a course manual and work book helps learners to complete each task.

The content of the course is devised to support managers and individuals exploring the language we use surrounding mental health, the continuum of wellness, risk factors and the concept of recovery.

Sessions will focus on depression, suicide, the influence of alcohol and drugs, first aid for suicide crisis and non-judgemental listening skills, anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm, psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar and personality disorders.

Alan Hewitt, Service Manager at Briggs Equipment, has recently undertaken training with Kerry to help him support his team.

He said: “This course was excellently delivered, informative and interesting throughout. It has given me the confidence to talk to my team, to ask searching questions and more importantly being able to understand and empathise with their situation. Our conversations have improved, and the support I can offer to them has moved to a different level."

For more information about Paycare Wellbeing’s mental health training, or free e-clinic sessions, visit or email [email protected].

Since 1874, Paycare (formerly known as Patient’s Aid Association) has worked to help individuals, families, businesses, and their employees access a variety of preventative and reactive healthcare services which protect their financial, physical and mental health and wellbeing. Its dedicated mental health service — Paycare Wellbeing — launched in 2019 and provides qualified and confidential training to Corporate Groups including Managers, CEOs and HR teams.