Using eLearning to Improve Mental Health and Wellbeing
Setting the Scene
SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) is a charity dedicated to mental health and wellbeing for all. Physical activity through sport or recreation has been proven to have a positive impact on physical and mental health and wellbeing. The less physical activity a person does, the more likely they are to experience low mood, depression, tension and worry. The ALBA (Active Living Becomes Achievable) project is for adults (18+) who have a long term physical or mental health problem to increase their levels of physical activity, mental health and wellbeing. The project began in 2016 and was funded by The Scottish Government until 2019.
The project recognised that many participants found it difficult to engage in physical activity because they struggled with their mental health. Educating physical activity staff within leisure services would play a key role in encouraging people to get active. Building their confidence and knowledge of mental health problems, as well as how to support long-term physical activity behaviours, would be vital.
eCom was delighted to help SAMH create two mental health eLearning modules, based on input from Edinburgh Napier University. Firstly, a Mental Health Awareness module illustrating the role physical activity plays in the prevention and supporting people with mental health problems. This module also helps staff and volunteers become more aware of common mental health problems and ensure physical activity environments are more inclusive. The subsequent Supporting Behaviour Change module helps physical activity staff support people to maintain long-term physical activity habits. It uses some basic principles of cognitive behaviour therapy, which was adapted for non-therapists. The modules are available 24/7 to fitness professionals, leisure staff and volunteers and can be accessed via a customised Learning Management System (LMS), developed by eCom. We also provided guidance on how to get the best engagement from the audience.
We are delighted that, through our eLearning, SAMH has been able to extend the reach of their training, educating physical activity staff and volunteers outside of their own organisation easily and in a cost-effective way. They also benefit from improved communications across their learner network as well as being able to monitor the learning experience. So far, 1250 learners have used eLearning and the feedback has been really positive. The eLearning modules can be used as many times as needed to reach the level of knowledge required and learners can work through the material at their own pace. The mental health eLearning is followed by face-to-face workshops and reflective learning practice, to enable participants to explore this complex subject in sufficient depth. This blended approach helps SAMH get the most from their training investment. The project has helped the physical activity workforce provide better support to those with mental health problems; to help them develop long-term physical activity habits and ultimately improve the mental health and wellbeing of many people.
What our clients have to say
We are delighted to partner with eCom to provide our eLearning modules and are pleased to benefit from their many years of experience in creating training materials for third sector organisations.
Nina Allinson, ALBA Project Co-ordinator at SAMH
[The Mental Health Awareness eLearning course] was short, clear, practical and positive and I completed it in one sitting which took about 45 mins
Helen Ryall, Head of Active Lives Programme at Edinburgh University
I found [Supporting Behaviour Change training] very useful as it has given me more understanding on how to approach certain situations I face every day at work.