Senior Managers – First Aid – A One Day Course in Mental Health

Following the lunchtime powerhouse, I was given the opportunity of delivering a one day workshop to senior managers from a global accountancy firm and their on-site contractors – themselves global firms!


The brief was to scratch the surface on the massive subject of mental health, enable debate on language around stress/pressure, depression/feeling blue and so on and then to give some strong signposting and ‘takeaway’ learning.


Taking the last first, I wrote what I’d like to have as a ‘takeaway’ learning sheet if I was a delegate.  A number of things leapt to mind!

1)   What support internally was available?

2)   ‘First instance’ external support – who do I call….?

3)   Key differences on common language use

4)   Non-negotiables to consider when supporting staff

5)  Easy examples of things I can do to look after myself and others

6)  Key messages of the day – recognise a change and start a conversation


Activities included case studies, brainstorming symptoms, pinning a symptom on a disorder, power breathing, visualisation and stress buckets – which were positively commented on.


The standard course of MHFA was also delivered covering all four sessions including mental health, suicide and depression, anxiety – including self-harm and eating disorders ending with psychosis.


The evaluations received were brilliant.  I felt a huge achievement in devising and delivering this workshop.


Comments from evaluations:


‘A thoroughly informative programme’

‘Excellent course.  I hope more staff get the opportunity to attend’

‘A really informative session’

‘Motivational, opens thinking on difficult issues’

‘Very informative and gives skills you wouldn’t normally encounter’


The delegates left empowered, enthused without one feeling the course was too long or a waste of their time.   I could not have wished for better results.




Lunchtime Mental Health Powerhouse

A few weeks back, I was asked to write a bespoke programme to give a flavour of mental health in the workplace.  This was to take place in a global professional services firm for their staff and their contractors – which included some global organisatons as well – no pressure then!


The brief was to design something which would not only help the managers support their staff but also themselves and their own line management.  As we all know, mental health doesn’t just flow in one direction!  It also had to be delivered over an hour!!!


So I put myself in the shoes of a manager with little experience of mental health training.  What would I be interested in knowing?  One key thing sprang to mind – ‘are my assumptions correct’? If all I have is the general feeling around mental health as displayed in the media, probably not!


Luckily with 19 delegates in the room the air con was working fine! 12.30 arrived on 15 July with expectation in the air!  So the framework went something like this over a buffet lunch:


Mental Health – what is it & what does it look like in the workplace?  amazing how we generally have more negative than positive things to say about mental health.  Yet without good mental health, we couldn’t function well  in business.


Continuous flow – next we explored just how fluid mental health issues are and the potential affect of intervening …… or not!


Steps – no not the group but what steps should we take when we do see a change?


Labeling an office was interesting – we are always quick to think of things like flickering lights, air con, lunchbreaks but what about the ‘culture’ of our offices?  do we make mental health topics part of our team talks?  Do we enable our staff to take some control in decisions which directly affect them?  Some hard questions were asked and thoughts challenged.


Keeping it real – the confusion around language – is there a difference between Pressure and Stress or Feeling Blue and Depression?  This gave some interesting thoughts from the group and some understanding around the mechanics of adrenaline and cortisol on our bodies.


Handouts containing key facts, signposting to applicable organisations and some thoughts and ideas were given as ‘takeaway’ sheets to enable ongoing learning.


The evaluations were overwhelmingly positive.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief!

Some of the delegates thoughts from these:


‘It made me realise how important it is to be alert on how the team behaves and performs’

‘Interesting facts about mental health’

‘The interaction made it a good session’

‘I found the concept of continuous flow very interesting’

‘Found the session very good and opened my opinion of mental health issues’



I am always telling the young people I work with to challenge themselves.  It’s good to push ourselves.  We will surprise ourselves by our results.  After yesterday, I can truly look them in the eye!


If you would like a bespoke programme designed and delivered for your business – contact me!

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