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Delivery of a Mental Health First Aid training package and staff peer support service in secondary schools: a process evaluation of uptake and fidelity of the WISE intervention

Research output: Other contribution

Harriet Fisher, Sarah Harding, Sarah Bell, Lauren Copeland, Rhiannon Evans, Jillian Powell, Ricardo Araya, Rona Campbell, Tamsin Ford, David Gunnell, Simon Murphy, Judi Kidger

Original languageEnglish
Published26 Aug 2020

Publication series

PublisherBioMed Central

King's Authors


Background: Improving children and young people's provision for mental health is a current health priority in England. Secondary school teachers have worse mental health outcomes than the general working population, which the Wellbeing in Secondary Education (WISE) cluster randomised controlled trial aimed to improve. The WISE intervention comprised a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training package delivered to at least 16% of staff, a short mental health awareness session to all teachers and development of a staff peer support service. Twenty-five schools were randomised to intervention or control arms. This paper reports findings regarding the extent of uptake and fidelity of the intervention. Methods: Mixed methods data collection comprised researcher observations of training delivery, training participant evaluation forms, trainer and peer supporter interviews, peer supporter feedback meetings, logs of support provided, and teacher questionnaires. Quantitative data were summarised descriptively, while thematic analysis was applied to the qualitative data. Results: In the 12 schools assigned to the intervention arm, 113 (8.6%) staff completed the 2-day standard MHFA training course, and a further 146 (11.1%) staff completed the 1-day MHFA for schools and colleges training. In seven (58.3%) schools, the required 8% of staff completed the MHFA training packages. A 1-h mental health awareness-raising session was attended by 666 (54.5%) staff. Delivery of the MHFA training package was achieved with high levels of fidelity and quality across schools. All schools set up the peer support service following training, with a majority adhering to most of the operational guidelines developed from the pilot study at the outset. Teachers reported limited use of the peer support service during follow-up. At the 1-year follow-up, only three (25.0%) schools indicated they had re-advertised the service and there was evidence of a reduction in support from senior leadership. Conclusion: The MHFA training package was delivered with reasonably high fidelity, and a staff peer support service was established with general, but not complete, adherence to guidelines. In some schools, insufficient staff received MHFA training and levels of delivery of the peer support service compromised intervention dose and reach. Trial registration: ISRCTN 95909211. Registered on 15 January 2016

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