In 2013 funding was received to deliver Youth MHFA across a range of organisations in North East England. The training was delivered to 224 people across 18 venues, based in a range of schools, colleges, clubs and other venues holding activities for adolescents. The evaluation looked at the impact of the training based on feedback immediately after the course and then also 3-6 months later, including inviting examples of how the training has been implemented in practice.

The study found that:

  • Both self-reported confidence in ability to help young people with mental health issues and knowledge in how to support young people with mental health issues increased from a median rating of 5/10 to 8/10 (or by three points); a highly statistically significant increase (p<.001)

  • A longer term follow up at three to six months post training highlighted that many of the schools involved in the training had clear implementation strategies in place to embed Youth MHFA and ALGEE into their organisation

  • Analysis of open-ended responses on how delegates would respond to hypothetical scenarios around mental ill health also demonstrated continuing ability to identify symptoms of mental ill health and provide appropriate strategies for support and care

Participant feedback three to six months post training:

  • “Straight after the first session I was able to use the ALGEE technique with a student (who) had anxiety and panic attacks for a number of years. By listening, reassuring her and helping her to recognise her mental health she became more confident in discussing her concerns and we were able to give her the appropriate help during her examinations”

  • “I developed observational and listening skills to pick up signs of difficulties at an early stage (and) further developed close links with external agencies”

  • “I have led assemblies on mental wellbeing to raise the issue and revive my pupil drop-in and parent drop-in after school”

  • “I suggested my senior coach give me the groups of kids who are shy or hyperactive; I take it as a challenge to explore the talent of those kids”

  • “Confidence to challenge students and staff about their behaviours so that they feel confident to seek support”

  • “Gaining more up-to-date knowledge about mental health has given me more confidence in myself. The information discussed has certainly made me look at how I can improve my practice to best support others”

  • “The sessions that covered the different types of mental health disorders have all been very useful as I now have a better awareness and know what advice/help to give”

  • “I have been able to ask the ‘right’ questions and openers to engage individuals in an honest discussion about their needs”

Download pdf:
Borrill, J. & Kuczynska, P. University of Westminster. 2013: Evaluation of Youth Mental Health First Aid Training in the North-East of England