Impact News

Responding to Violence, Suicide, Psychosis and Trauma

Open Courses “Different Worlds: working with hallucinations and delusions”

SITRA are now offering individual places on the “Different Worlds” course focussing on working with people who experience hallucinations and delusions:

SITRA – Different Worlds

Different worlds: Hallucinations and delusions

23 May 2012, London

25 May 2012, Southampton

24 October 2012, Southampton

This course is ideal for anyone who is working with service users with severe mental health issues. By the end of the course, participants will:

Have a better understanding of different types of hallucinations and their origins.
Have learned about a range of strategies to help service users cope with auditory hallucinations.
Know how to respond to services users in a psychotic crisis.
Have a greater awareness of different types of delusions and paranoid states.
Have a greater awareness of different approaches to the treatment of hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.
Price: Members £89/Non-members £129

Trainer: Dr Ian Bourne

Book now

Filed under: Impact Training, psychosis, , , , , ,

Open Courses “Difficult, Disturbing & Dangerous Behaviour”

SITRA is now offering individual places on the DDDB course around the country. Details below:

Difficult, disturbing and dangerous behaviour

3 February 2012, Newcastle

9 March 2012, Bristol

15 March 2012, Southampton

27 March 2012, London

19 April 2012, Birmingham

18 July 2012, Southampton

20 September 2012, London

26 September 2012, Leeds

Anyone working in settings where people may behave in a difficult, disturbing or dangerous way. This is an intensive, practice-based course, which can be emotionally demanding as incidents are acted out by the trainer in front of the group. This provides a springboard for you to experience and examine some of your own reactions to difficult, disturbing, and/or dangerous behaviour.

At the end of the course, you should:

Feel more confident to deal with aggressors in crisis
Have a greater awareness of how their own feelings and reactions may help or hinder the resolution of a crisis
Be more able to identify indicators of violent behaviour, and take appropriate preventative measures
Have identified strategies for responding effectively to uncontained behaviour.
Price: Members £89/Non-members £129

Trainer: Dr Iain Bourne

Book now

Filed under: Impact Training, Violence, , , , , , , ,

Black & Minority Ethnic Groups: Concern over mental health training in public sector

Educating police and teachers on early signs of mental illness could be catastrophic for black and minority groups, say critics

A mental health group has criticised a report recommending police, teachers and other public sector workers should be trained to spot early signs of mental illness, saying it could marginalise those of black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Black Mental Health UK (BMHUK) has accused the report’s authors, which includes a group of prominent mental health charities, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, of ignoring black and minority ethnic (BME) communities’ views on the possible fallout of their proposal.

The group claims that, if implemented, the recommendation could increase the chances of people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds being misdiagnosed by amateurs with no professional mental health credentials and lead to further stigmatisation. People from black African-Caribbean backgrounds are more likely to enter the mental health system through the criminal justice system than any other group, and campaigners are worried that encouraging police officers to try to “spot” signs of mental distress could exacerbate the problem.

“There are grave concerns over the suggestion that the police or teachers should be trained in spotting signs of mental ill health,” said Matilda MacAttram, of BMHUK. “Currently black men are six times more likely to be stopped and searched than their white counterparts, as such it is unwise to suggest that the police should be responsible for spotting signs of mental ill health. It could lead to catastrophic results.”

The Future Vision Coalition, the umbrella group behind the report, risks losing credibility if potentially negative fallout of such a policy is not fully assessed, claimed MacAttram. The “labelling” or stigmatising of young people is a particular area of concern. “There is a real danger that cultural norms could be misconstrued, which could have disastrous consequences for a child’s educational career,” she added.

Steve Shrubb, the coalition’s chair, insisted that, far from being damaging to people from BME backgrounds, the proposed training would directly benefit marginalised and “diverse” groups. He said the number of organisations involved with the coalition had doubled since it first started and that many of these represented the views “of a range of vulnerable” groups.

“What we are saying is that mental health awareness training should be included in induction programmes for public sector workers.” he said. “People who work in public services often come into contact with people with mental health difficulties, and we are saying that helping them to identify how to direct someone to the assistance they need is very worthwhile.”

The police and teachers are “a special case”, Shrubb suggested, and should be provided with extra mental health training. “This is not about creating amateur psychiatrists. In our report we talk about how we can improve services for lots of vulnerable groups and BME [individuals] are one of those groups,” he said.

The aim, Shrubb said, was to improve services from local authority housing departments to jobcentre plus, as well as from teachers and the police. The views of BME groups had been put forward in discussions, he added.

As well as mental health awareness training, the report – A Future for Mental Health – makes a number of recommendations including the appointment of a “champion” for mental health issues in government at Cabinet level, and the widening of access to “talking therapies” beyond working age adults to children and older people.

Angela Greatley, chief executive of coalition member the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, said too little was being done to promote good mental health in schools, workplaces and communities and that the 10-year agenda laid out in today’s report would contribute to “better life chances” for a wider range of people.

According to MacAttram, the views of BME campaigners were not adequately canvassed before the report. “This could have done with input from black groups who could speak out on behalf of those who will be directly affected by these suggestions,” she said.

Filed under: Other Mental Health, , ,

A new scheme trains adults in ‘first aid’ for young people who turn to them in a time of crisis

Emotional rescue

Lucy is explaining why she didn’t go to school today. “I just couldn’t get up. I wasn’t being lazy. I just felt as if every bit of me has been filled with weighted blocks of sadness.” She is at a point of crisis and has singled you out to tell about her mounting depression. What do you do?

This scenario is one of a number of filmed true accounts of young people’s struggles with emotional distress, their sadness, fear, shame and anger – which are a key ingredient in a training scheme being pioneered in Southampton. The idea is to make sure young people get support from the first person they confide in about their troubles.

In most cases, such people will not have specialist medical knowledge. Those who have taken the first Emotional First Aid (EFA) training have included teachers and teaching assistants, youth workers and student support officers.

“The course’s aim is not to create experts in adolescent mental health but to help people recognise that they have an invaluable role in assisting young people in need,” explains family therapist Dave Smith, one of EFA’s designers. “Sometimes their involvement will be enough, getting the young person back on track, but even if more specialist services have to be mobilised, then there’s a part for an EFA-trained adult to play in supporting the young person through the process.”

This is an aspect of the training that Paul Jetten particularly appreciates as an outreach worker with the national charity Fairbridge in Solent, his focus being young people whose lives are often already seriously troubled. “I have already seen the EFA training come good in my work with a teenager with anger-management problems. I was honest and explained that I didn’t have all the answers, but I was happy to work together with her trying to get them. She has really responded.”

Barbara Inkson, children and adolescent mental health manager for Southampton’s city primary care trust, says: “EFA needs to be seen in the context of a broader policy of trying to ‘roll-back’ help for young people so that they get the early interventions they often need to stop their problems developing into severe kinds of illness.”

The trust has championed a multi-agency scheme offering young people a short burst of specialist counselling – often all they need to turn their lives around. For seasoned campaigners such as Dr Andrew McCulloch, head of the Mental Health Foundation, the scheme is an exemplary means of alleviating some of the “referrals congestion” that besets most children and adolescent mental health services nationwide. Young people are saved the agony of long waits for appointments – crucial time lost, during which their mental health often deteriorates.

McCulloch is also impressed by EFA: “It is essential to help young people before they get stuck, and equipping those adults that young people might turn to first for help is a sensible step.”

His use of the word “stuck” is significant. “Among the most important lessons we teach,” says Stuart Gemmel, strategic lead for primary mental health in the town and one of the creators of the approach, “is that young people’s behaviour, however distressing, is often their solution to their problems. We also emphasise the notion of ‘stuckness’ – the fact that self-harm, not eating or drug-taking may offer temporary relief, and there is a danger that they come to dominate a young person’s life.”

For Linda Tanner, the special education needs co-ordinator at St George Catholic voluntary aided college in Southampton, this aspect of the EFA training has already borne fruit. “Thanks to that simple word ‘stuck’, I have been able to move a huge distance with a young boy who is very withdrawn,” she says. “The concept seemed to click with him and he started to open up to me. I don’t think I would have had the confidence to address this with him had I not had the EFA experience.”

Gemmel says there is a responsibility for institutions, too, to offer staff the kind of support workers in health services receive in the form of proper “supervision” – the chance to discuss their case load. “Without the proper structures in place, there’s a real danger people can be left exposed when it comes to the kinds of powerful two-way transference that can go on in any human interaction, but particularly so in a counselling situation.”

The EFA training devotes one of its six two-and-a-half hour sessions to addressing the importance of the adults looking after themselves.

“Among our next moves,” says Gemmel, “is to provide the EFA training to new audiences such as carers or those working with certain minorities.”

NHS Innovations South East is working to develop EFA into a national brand. Karen Underwood, a spokeswoman for the organisation, says a recent posting advertising the next round of EFA training brought 300 applicants in just a few hours: “We don’t see that level of enthusiasm for something new in the NHS every day.”

Filed under: Other Mental Health, , , , ,

Training Curbs Anger And Aggression In Adolescents With Tourette Syndrome

Article Date: 24 Apr 2009
In the first study to gauge the benefits of anger control training in adolescents with Tourette syndrome (TS), researchers at the Yale Child Study Center have found that cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful for short-term improvement in anger and aggression. The study is reported in the April issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Children and adolescents with TS, a disorder characterized by tics-involuntary, rapid, sudden movements and vocalizations occurring repeatedly in the same way-should also be evaluated for the presence of disruptive behavior problems, according to lead author Denis Sukhodolsky, associate research scientist in the Yale Child Study Center. “In some cases, these disruptive behavior problems can cause more impairment than tics,” he said. “If disruptive behavior is present, cognitive behavioral interventions such as anger control training could be recommended to reduce the levels of aggression.” Sukhodolsky and his team studied 26 children and adolescents with TS (24 boys and two girls between the ages and 11 and 15) with moderate to severe levels of oppositional and defiant behavior. They were randomly assigned to a group that received 10 sessions of anger management or to a control group that received their usual treatment for 10 weeks. When faced with frustrating situations during anger control training, the children role-played appropriate behavior. They were asked to identify and evaluate the consequences of various actions for themselves and others who were involved in hypothetical conflicts. The children were also asked to recall frustrating situations and to problem-solve and role play behavior that would have diffused the problem. They also completed homework to practice “anger coping” skills and share their experiences at the next session. At the end of treatment, parents reported that disruptive behavior decreased by 52 percent in the anger management group, compared with a decrease of 11 percent in the control group. Clinicians who were unaware of the treatment rated 69 percent of the children who completed anger management training as improved compared with 15 percent in the control group. Sukhodolsky said this improvement was well maintained at a three-month follow-up. He and colleagues plan to conduct larger clinical trials to confirm their results. The study is part of a clinical research program directed by Professor Lawrence Scahill to develop and test interventions for children and adolescents. Other authors on the study were Lawrence Vitulano, Deidre H. Carroll, Joseph McGuire, and James Leckman, M.D. Citation: J. Am, Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 48: 4 (April, 2009) Links: Denis Sukhodolsky Lawrence Scahill Source YALE

Filed under: Other Mental Health, Violence, , , , ,

Dundee & Edinburgh: Difficult, Disturbing and Dangerous Behaviour

If you you are looking for a DDDB course in Scotland, Blue Skye Consultancy are offering places in Dundee on 30th April and Edinburgh on 1st May. Details and Booking forms can be found at:

Filed under: Impact Training, Violence, , , , , , , ,

Community Care Feature Article: 12 July 2007


I have no idea what the article will be like, but Simeon Brody is writing a feature on Social Workers and Dangerous Behaviour in the July 21st edition of Community Care. You may even see a few ugly mug shots of me there!


Filed under: Impact Training, Uncategorized, Violence, , , ,