delegates make towers from spaghetti and marshmallowsOn February 8th 2018 Delphis delivered its brand new Mental Health for Managers training course at the National Railway Museum in York. Delegates from a variety of organisations including IKEA, Sainsbury’s and the NHS gave us rave reviews. These included:

“One of the best run workshops I’ve ever attended.”

“Brilliant content which was fully relevant to me and my company.”

“I loved the activities. Keeps you engaged at all times.”

The day began with an icebreaker. Teams had to build as tall as structure as possible using only spaghetti and marshmallows. This provoked much creative thought, as well as a warm competitive spirit and plenty of laughter.

The serious stuff  then began with managing director Dr. Ian Martin making a compelling argument for the business case for mental health. See our previous Sorting arguments for the business case for taking care of mental healthblog on the subject here. Delegates came up with their own reasons for why organisations should look after their employees and sorted them into financial, moral and legal categories.

The Delphis Learning Approach

The Delphis team has extensive experience of education and psychology as well as business. This has taught us that learning takes place best when subject matter is presented in a lively and engaging manner. Plenty of interaction and discussion is essential. Even more important than that however is the application of concepts. Learners apply concepts in practical, hands-on activities, after which reflection is vital to process the knowledge gained.

Celebrity mental health quiz

In this spirit the day was sprinkled with activities. In the ‘Challenging Stigma’ section delegates sorted photos of celebrities and quotes about their mental health conditions, as well as the name of the disorder (e.g. OCD, bipolar disorder, depression). Later, delegates worked in pairs to role play a situation in which a manager has to talk to an employee in crisis.

Hands-On Learning

One of the most popular activities in the Mental Health for Managers training course was a model making task. The museum currently has a display of Tim Peake’s Soyuz landing capsule. This inspired the nature of the task – to build a working, spinning globe with an orbiting model of the Soyuz spacecraft.

Delegates clearly had a great deal of fun with this, but it also proved to be a powerful learning experience. Some groups had the full instructions and others a minimal version, with just the basic goal and a picture of the final model. In this way we varied the degree of pressure and demand. Added to this was how much support and encouragement was provided by comments such as ‘you’re running out of time’.

The point was to illustrate that people work best under an ideal amount of pressure. Too much and performance declines, too little and boredom or lack of motivation sets in. In addition we saw how each of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) six management standards for identifying sources of stress work in practice. For example, the teams worked well because they divided and assigned roles effectively and maintained good working relationships. Also, the teams with the right support and level of demand (those who had the full instructions and encouragement) fared better.

An Enthusiastic Response to our Mental Health for Managers Training Course

At the end delegates left overwhelmingly impressed. Some of the comments were: ‘I was blown away in the first 15 minutes’, ‘your style was just right – calm and confident, not too academic, just the right amount of information’ and ‘I remained interested all the way to the end.’

We very much look forward to future courses. The next one at the National Railway Museum in York is 9 March. Book now to secure your place. In the meantime, please contact us if you would like a course delivered on-site for your employees.

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