Mental health training for the emergency services

Emergency services staff and volunteers operate in some of the most challenging workplace environments but often receive limited mental health support and face high levels of stigma.  

In response to this, we’ve developed a range of tailored training sessions for blue light personnel. All our courses are evidence-based and developed to be specific to each emergency service. You can find the evaluations of our training courses here.

On this page you can find out more about the following courses:

  • Managing Mental Health in the Emergency Services
  • 999 Call Handler Training
  • New Recruit Training
  • Peer Support Training
  • Resilience Training
  • Trauma Awareness.

Our training products will be delivered by an experienced Mind trainer from one of our local Minds. We have enabled 25 of our local Minds to deliver this training this year.

Please enquire about the training by contacting one of our local Minds.

Local Minds

We are delivering our training through partnership with our network of local Minds. 25 local Minds were given a license to offer all six of our training products in their local areas. Each local Mind is an independent charity run by local people, for local people.

Each local Mind has reached the standard set by our Mind Quality Mark, a baseline of good practice and legal compliance. Our local Mind trainers are highly experienced, and boast a wealth of local knowledge that will add value to the training.

The local Minds are as follows:

Local Mind

Email Address

Andover Mind

[email protected]

Buckinghamshire Mind

[email protected]

Caerphilly Borough Mind

[email protected]

Cambridgeshire Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind

[email protected]

Cardiff Mind

[email protected]

Dorset Mind

[email protected]

Dudley Mind

[email protected]

Hull and East Yorkshire Mind

[email protected]

Leeds Mind

[email protected]

Merthyr and the Valleys Mind

[email protected]

Mind Aberystwyth

[email protected]

Mind BLMK

 [email protected]

Mind in Harrow

[email protected]

Mind in Mid Herts

[email protected]  

Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest

[email protected]

Newport Mind

[email protected]

North East Wales Mind

[email protected]

North Staffs Mind

[email protected] 

Nottinghamshire Mind

[email protected]  

Redcar and Cleveland Mind

[email protected]

Salford Mind and Tameside, Oldham and Glossop Mind

[email protected]

Solent Mind

[email protected]

Tyneside and Northumberland Mind

[email protected]  

Washington Mind

[email protected]

Wirral Mind

[email protected]

Please get in touch with your nearest local Mind for more information about booking a training course. 

 

Find your closest local Mind here

Managing Mental Health in the Emergency Services (MMHES)

This course is for anyone in the emergency services who has a line management, team leader or pastoral role. It’s tailored to the unique environments that the emergency services operate in and we can provide a version for ambulance, fire, police or search and rescue services.


Between 2015 and 2019, over 9,000 line managers, team leaders and pastoral staff were trained in managing mental health in the emergency services.

Key features:

  • half-day course
  • delivered face-to-face to a group of 8 to 16 participants
  • a balance of trainer-led presentations with opportunities for participant discussion and interaction
  • an experienced Mind trainer can deliver this course at a suitable venue of your choice

What you’ll gain:

  • awareness of mental health at work and how work can affect emergency services staff and volunteers.
  • awareness of the signs of mental ill health, and how to broach the issue with your staff.
  • information about creating a mentally healthy workplace.
  • information about proactively manage employees’ mental wellbeing.
  • tips for initiating a conversation about mental health, and handling disclosure.

Our evaluation found that, as a result of the training course:

  • participants’ self-reported understanding of mental health problems increased by 95 per cent
  • managers’ ability to recognise signs and symptoms of common mental illnesses increased by 54 per cent
  • 90 per cent felt confident that they could support a colleague experiencing a mental health problem at work.

“We have just finished the first training course. I just wanted to say how well it went down with our staff. We consider it to be a huge success and there is considerable appetite to run another session.” 
– Past participant 

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999 Call Handler Training

Call handlers are increasingly expected to take on higher volumes of calls, against a backdrop of reduced staffing levels and strictly enforced targets. This can contribute to poor mental health and wellbeing, leading to high levels of staff sickness and poor retention.

Based on our research with call handlers and expert stakeholders from across the services, we developed a pilot course tailored specifically for call handlers, covering:

  • mental health awareness
  • resilience
  • support to callers with mental health problems.

Key features:

  • full day course
  • delivered face-to-face to a group of up to 15 participants
  • three modules that can be delivered together or separately
  • an experienced Mind trainer can deliver this course at a suitable venue of your choice.

What you’ll gain:

  • an understanding of resilience and why emergency service workers need to build on their resilience
  • an understanding of how resilient you are, and learn tools to help you build on and maintain your resilience
  • increased awareness of mental health problems, including how to recognise signs and symptoms of mental health problems, and the impact of stigma and discrimination
  • increased ability to recognise signs that a caller may have poor mental health
  • skills to help you manage challenging calls sensitively and in a structured way.
  • an understanding of the impact of your work on your own mental health, and where to go for support

Call handlers who took our course told us that they knew more about different mental health problems after the training, and their knowledge of personal resilience and looking after their own wellbeing had increased.    


“You cannot overestimate just how positive this whole programme has been for our staff. If I could do it every six months, I know I would have the same response. It’s just been amazing, amazing for staff.”

– Manager, police service

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New Recruits training

Our research shows that new recruits can find life in the emergency services tougher than expected. They don’t always feel prepared to deal with the difficult things they see and hear for the first time. From shift patterns to dealing with distressing situations – there is a lot to get used to.

That’s why we made a pilot mental health training course just for new recruits, and tested how well it works. New recruits that received the training said they were more aware of how to take care of their mental health, and they’d be more likely to ask for help if they needed it. This training is available to all emergency services staff through 25 of our local mind network.

Key features:

  • two half day courses.
  • delivered face-to-face to a group of up to 15 participants
  • exclusive to emergency services personnel with under three years of service
  • an experienced Mind trainer can deliver this course at a suitable venue of your choice.

What you’ll gain:

  • increased awareness of mental health and resilience building
  • an understanding of the tools and techniques that you can use to help build your resilience
  • an understanding of where to go for support
  • an opportunity to reflect on the impact of your experiences over the last three months and how you have put the first session’s learning into practice
  • tools to help you plan what you can do in future to look after yourself.

If you’re interested in booking this course for the newer members of your team, please email [email protected],uk

“I first experienced mental health problems within my first year in the service. I’d attended a number of particularly horrendous fatal incidents, which ended up having quite an effect on me...”
 – Firefighter, fire service

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Peer Support Training

Our research shows that emergency services staff and volunteers are likely to seek mental health support from a colleague.

Our peer support training has been developed with this in mind, to help 999 teams better understand what peer support is, how it can help, and what they can do to support a colleague.

The principles of peer support have underpinned the work Mind have done to recruit and train blue light Champions. During the Blue Light Programme, nearly 3000 emergency service personnel across England and Wales signed up to support their colleagues, and change the way mental health is seen within the emergency services.

People who took our course told us they had more confidence in approaching a colleague who might be distressed or needed support.

Key features:

  • full day
  • delivered face-to-face to a group of up to 15 participants
  • practical tips for people that want to support their colleagues with their mental health
  • an experienced Mind trainer can deliver this course at a suitable venue of your choice.

What you’ll gain:

  • an understanding of what is meant by peer support
  • an understanding of the key principles and values of peer support
  • an understanding of the role and value of recovery and self-management
  • an understanding of how to use personal experiences to provide support and inspiration for others
  • an ability to identify and understand a range of techniques to support your peers
  • confidence in delivering peer support in the workplace
  • an ability to identify and access resources to support you in your peer support work

“The topics discussed were useful in the context of improving our own service and the wellbeing service in general.”
- Call handler, Police Service

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Building Resilience in the Emergency Services

Our resilience course was developed and evaluated by the University of Oxford.

Our evaluation found:

  • significant improvements in participants’ wellbeing, resilience, support networks and likelihood of experiencing psychological distress as a result of participating in the mixed format course
  • participants demonstrated a trend to ruminate less often when responding to unwanted memories, once they’d completed the course. This change lasted over three months
  • the strongest effect was linked to improvements in mental health awareness, which we measured by assessing participants’ awareness of and use of coping strategies to manage mental health.

If you would like to find out more about our evaluation please read our research summary here or you can read the full academic report from the University of Oxford

Key features:

  • full day
  • delivered face-to-face to a group of up to 15 participants
  • an innovative mixture of online modules and face to face group sessions, spread over four weeks.
  • an experienced Mind trainer can deliver this course at a suitable venue of your choice.

What you’ll gain:

  • practical ways to deal with stress, anxiety and difficult emotions
  • increased awareness of mental health and resilience building
  • an understanding of the tools and techniques you can use to help build your resilience
  • practical ways to address worry and personal warning signs for stress or worry

"I think it’s really good to have some tools that I can use to help me, to let go of things if they got to me, or rationalise things…"
- Course participant

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Blue light Trauma Awareness

In the final year of the Blue Light Programme, 2018-19, we provided trauma-related support through our local Mind partners across England and Wales, who are experts in delivering frontline mental health support. This included a Trauma Awareness Workshop developed with the Tavistock Trauma Service at Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.

 Key features:

  • full day
  • delivered face-to-face to a group of up to 15 participants
  • delivered in partnership with experts from the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust
  • an experienced Mind trainer can deliver this course at a suitable venue of your choice.

What you’ll gain:

  • improved awareness of what is meant by trauma, and an understanding of the potential effects of this and how it can affect emergency services staff and volunteers.
  • improved confidence in looking after self and others whilst working or volunteering in the emergency services, and witnessing, or being involved in traumatic situations.
  • enhanced listening skills and the confidence to use these with colleagues and team members who have experienced trauma or are experiencing PTSD.
  • increased knowledge of PTSD and how to approach a colleague who you feel may be experiencing this and signpost to support.
  • an understanding of what psycho-education is and how promoting this can support colleagues and team members who have experienced trauma or who are experiencing PTSD.
  • knowledge of signposting and how to do this is a sensitive and supportive way.
  • increased understanding of the importance of boundaries as a Blue Light Champion or Helper and confidence to communicate and maintain these, or seek advice if unable to do so.
  • increased confidence in managing own mental health and the importance of self-care

"Most of the people in your life outside of work have never seen or been involved in a traumatic event, so this can lead to you feeling alone, different, or isolated from family and friends."
- Course participant, Fire service

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Mental Health A-Z

Information and advice on a huge range of mental health topics

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Helping you to better understand and support people with mental health problems

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