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‘Overwhelming’ response to mental health crisis training, say evaluators

A ground-breaking initiative to transform mental health crisis responses has received an overwhelmingly positive report from evaluators.

Designed in the North East by mental health crisis care professionals and experts by experience, Respond simulates a mental health crisis scenario with video and audio clips, and group discussions in a safe environment.

Respond brings together everyone in the crisis pathway – including doctors, nurses, police, paramedics, approved mental health professionals and experts by experience – to explore problem-solving skills and decision making processes, knowing that mistakes can be made without any long-term consequences.

The independent evaluation by the Academic Health Sciences Network (AHSN) reported that Respond has been ‘highly successful in in improving the understanding of, and collaboration between, different professions and agencies working together to care for people experiencing mental health crisis.’

The evaluation, which included pre- and post-training surveys as well as face-to-face interviews, showed that:

  • Respond led to changes in approach for all those interviewed
  • The majority gained new knowledge and skills in assessment and management of people in mental health crisis, relevant legislation and roles of other agencies – particularly the police, ambulance crews and AMHPs
  • Most described increased confidence in their own abilities – two-thirds applied the new knowledge and skills to their work and worked more effectively with others
  • Improvements were sustained after six months, with nearly all participants passing on their learning to colleagues
  • The involvement of experts by experience was particularly beneficial for professionals’ understanding of how their approach impacts on patients

Over 400 professionals in the North East have already completed Respond training, which is now attracting strong interest from partnerships across the country.

To book onto a Respond course in the North East or North Cumbria – or to find out more about using Respond in another part of the country, contact Amy Rafter at or 0191 245 6662 (ex 56662).

The full evaluation report is available on the North East and North Cumbria Urgent and Emergency Care Network website.