For the past 11 years, Solent NHS Trust has been providing community, mental health, and learning disability services to communities in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Their dedicated team of over 6,000 staff deliver compassionate, person-centred care to people close to home, at all stages of their lives.

Started MHFA England Training

The Solent NHS Trust started working with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England in 2020 and through their Health and Wellbeing practitioners, they offer a range of MHFA England accredited training.

Staff trained so far 

To date, they have 157 Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAiders) across the Trust in different teams and services. They offer Mental Health First Aid training and aim to run at least two courses a year through their Health and Wellbeing practitioners who are fully qualified MHFA England Instructor Members.

The journey so far  

Since embedding Mental Health First Aid England training within the Trust two years ago, the Solent NHS Trust has regularly promoted Mental Health First Aid training and encouraged staff to equip themselves with the tools to support their own and others’ mental health. They also ensure that staff who are trained MHFAiders undertake a Refresher course every three years so that their skills and knowledge remain relevant and impactful.

The Trust also ensures that they support MHFAiders by developing and championing a network who meet every six weeks to share best practice and support each other.

Find out more about mental health training for your employees

Having implemented MHFA England training, the Health and Wellbeing Team were aware of My Whole Self – the campaign to promote workplace culture change. The Wellbeing Team knew that staff across the Trust were feeling exhausted and overwhelmed because of the pandemic and so wanted to promote a positive campaign to help support employees’ mental health and wellbeing. They asked the Executive Team to send in their MyWholeSelfies and a few fun facts about themselves and gradually began sharing these across their social media channels. As Tanja Roberts, Content Officer, says:


“This really helped to humanise the Executive Team and show that we were all ‘in this together’.”


Very soon, staff across the Trust started sharing their selfies across their personal social media channels and internal comms platforms and by the end of March, at least 40 staff had participated.

Speaking about the campaign, Anna Rowen, Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Solent, continues:

“This campaign helps to bring alive our mission to support colleagues to be their authentic self at work. By being our whole selves, we gain a sense of belonging and feel recognised and validated. By sharing our MyWholeSelfies, along with some personal anecdotes, we were able to see beyond the job title or person in the role and get to know a little more about each other as human beings. This allowed us to connect on a more personal level and add to our staff relationship.

By sharing our interests and experiences, we can help create a sense of community and compassion. Creating safe spaces to have conversations about our different life experiences helps to break down stigma and supports connection and a sense of belonging.”


Taking part in My Whole Self and ensuring a strong network of Mental Health First Aiders has been vital in improving workplace mental health and wellbeing. As Anna concludes: 

"Life is difficult for most, if not all of us at times - we all at some point to varying degrees must manage our mental health - as we do our physical and/ or spiritual health. We must improve understanding and break down stigma around being open about these challenges and encourage open conversation about mental health. We need to get to a point where in the same way we don't hesitate to say we have a cold and are feeling run down, or we have tooth ache and need to see a dentist - we are comfortable enough to be able to say this week has been tough, my anxiety is back, or my mood is low.


“If people can bring their whole self to work, they are more likely to be happy, heathier and more productive - we have a moral and ethical responsibility to support each other as well as it making good business sense. It creates an open culture.”

Get involved with My Whole Self