Course Code: Course Duration: Please read the course description for full details

Across the UK, employers have a duty to protect the safety and health, as far as is reasonably  practicable, of their employees. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) lays down wide-ranging duties on employers. Employers must protect the “health, safety and welfare” of all their employees, as well as others on their premises, including temps, casual workers, the self-employed, clients, visitors and the general public. However, these duties are qualified with the words ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’. This means that employers can argue that the costs of a particular safety measure are not justified by the reduction in risk that the measure would produce. But it does not mean they can avoid their responsibilities simply by claiming that they cannot afford improvements.

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Mental Health Training

HASAWA allows the government to issue regulations, guidance and Approved Codes of Practice (ACOPs) for employers. These set out detailed responsibilities for the employer in every aspect of workplace health and safety, from working safely with computers, to stress and hazardous chemicals. Since the early 1970’s industry has been focussed on incidents and accidents and how that relates to time and profits lost. One area that has been overlooked somewhat is the psychological aspect of work related incidents and how that can lead to work related stress, absence from work and over time, burnout. There is currently a need for suitable, evidence-based training for managing problems and disorders related to stress in primary health care settings as well as across all industry sectors. Agencies who work in post conflict and natural disaster settings are increasingly interested in mental health care and in today’s multi-tasking environments where there are increasing demands on performance within tightening pools of resource, stress levels can get dangerously high. 

The World Health Organization prompted the development of a system of managing problems related to stress and produced guidance on psychological first aid and the structured debriefing of those affected by stress situations and symptoms. Those guidelines are incorporated and indeed are the driving force behind this training. The training will embrace the theory that each individual has individual levels of resilience, strengths and weaknesses and will incorporate theoretical frameworks based on current thinking including:

Psychological debriefing: The promotion of ventilation by encouraging the person to briefly but systematically recount perceptions, thoughts and emotional reactions experienced during a recent, stressful event (WHO, 2010).

Psychological first aid (PFA): Humane, supportive response to a fellow human being who is suffering and who may need support. It entails basic, non-intrusive pragmatic care with a focus on listening but not forcing talk, assessing needs and concerns, ensuring that basic needs are met, encouraging social support from significant others and protecting from further harm (WHO, 2010). 

Stress management: Psychological treatments that use cognitive or behavioural techniques (e.g. relaxation, stress inoculation training) that do not focus on the traumatic event (Bisson & Andrew, 2007).

Symptoms of acute stress: Psychological symptoms in the first month after exposure to potentially traumatic events. 

This training also introduces a range of practical techniques that individuals can use to deal with stress and reduce it to a manageable level as well as providing a framework understanding Post Incident Stress Debriefing (PISD) and the structure of the group format. 

This training has been separated into learning hours and the first 12 hours of learning focuses on identifying and managing stress and the effects of stress upon people at work and in their own lives.  The following 18 hours is aimed at those wishing to facilitate post incident debrief sessions.  

Programme Content

The Post Incident Stress Debrief and Psychological First Aid programme is delivered to groups of up to 12 learners.  It is accredited through Highfields Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC) and is available as a 1-2-day course (18 hours) and a 1-5 day course (42h 45mins).

The programme will be delivered by an adult mental health Psychologist who works across the UK as an educator of people in clinical, care and public services settings who has experiences include Post Incident Debriefing for The Scottish Prison Service, Criminal Justice Social Work, Forensic Services and Adult mental health community based services. 

Programme objective and content

The aims of this programme are to facilitate an appreciation of the complex range of symptoms that a person can experience when stressed whilst also examining the reasons why people experience and deal with stress differently.

It will then enable the learners to recognise and manage their own stress through a range of validated techniques that build both resilience and improve coping. The programme will also support the development of a range of knowledge skills that will allow learners to offer aid in critical incidents and then to facilitate the debriefing of those that may be stressed from involvement with traumatic events.

This programme includes content on: understanding stress and an individual’s response to stressful situations, coping with stress, stress at work, emotional intelligence, mindfulness, stress debriefing, communication skills, therapeutic group work skills, the role of the cognitive triad and negative thinking, psychological first aid and effective reporting.

By the end of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Define what stress is
  • Explain what is meant by stress and work-related stress.
  • Identify the symptoms of stress
  • Explain the typical causes of stress in the workplace and at home.
  • Undergo a stress risk assessment.
  • Understand the importance of controlling stress and know how to cope with stress when it arises
  • Identify what changes can be made in the workplace and at home in order to deal with the causes and effects of stress
  • Understand more about stress debriefing and how that can help
  • Experience what it feels like to be involved in a post incident stress debrief and how as individuals people can safeguard each other

This training also introduces a range of practical techniques that individuals can use to deal with stress and reduce it to a manageable level as well as providing a framework for the understanding of Post Incident Stress Debriefing (PISD) and the structure of the group format.

Individual Module (Day One and Two) – 12 Guided Learning Hours

Day 1

  1. Define stress MCQ 
  2. Explain the difference between distress and eustress MCQ 
  3. List the symptoms that may result from distress Reflective exercise 
  4. Assess own vulnerability to stress Reflective exercise 
  5. Describe positive coping methods for dealing with stress. MCQ 6 Outline the relaxation techniques of controlled breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery 
  6. Highfield Accreditation Programme Summary V2 Page 5 MCQ 
  7. Practice controlled breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery. Reflective exercise

Day 2

  1. Describe the factors that can produce stress at work Reflective exercise 
  2. Assess own work-related stress Reflective exercise 
  3. Explain the concept of emotional intelligence MCQ 
  4. Assess own emotional intelligence Reflective exercise 
  5. Describe the concept of mindfulness MCQ 
  6. Practice breath meditation Reflective exercise

This training has been separated into learning hours and the first 12 guided hours of learning focuses on stress and the effects of stress upon people at work and in their own lives.

Facilitators Module (Days three, four and five –18 guided learning hours)

By the end of the facilitators module, the learners will better understand:

  • What is a facilitator?
  • What does a facilitator focus on?
  • The difference between content facilitator and process facilitator
  • Understanding group dynamics and the group process
  • The use of time and space
  • Maintaining objectivity
  • Confidence, assertiveness and integrity
  • Questioning styles
  • Tools and processes
  • Mind mapping

Day 3

  • Explain the key aspects of effective communication;
  • Describe the art of active listening
  • Practice active listening with a partner
  • Discuss the use of open and closed questions
  • Practice asking open and closed questions
  • Explore the concept of therapeutic group work

Day 4

  • Describe the dynamics of running therapeutic groups
  • Explain the key skills of group facilitation
  • Describe the 7 phases of Critical Incident Stress Debrief

Day 5

  • Explain Beck’s cognitive triad and negative thinking
  • Facilitate a group using the 7 phases of Critical Incident Stress Debrief
  • Explain the three basic action principles of Psychological First Aid
  • Generate a report using Driscoll’s model of reflection


Onsite Training Locations

Tidal Training provide onsite face to face healthcare training to large and small group organisations and across the United Kingdom. Our tutors will travel to your workplace or choice of venue and deliver training at a time and date which fits in with your organisations work commitments. If you require training outside of normal working hours we will be more than happy to support you.

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Onsite Training for Post Incident Stress Debrief and Psychological First Aid

This Post Incident Stress Debrief and Psychological First Aid training and all of the Mental Health Training Courses we provide can be delivered onsite in most cities and surrounding areas in England, Wales and Scotland including:

  • Aberdeen
  • Bangor
  • Bath
  • Birmingham
  • Bradford
  • Brighton and Hove
  • Bristol
  • Cambridge
  • Canterbury
  • Cardiff
  • Carlisle
  • Chester
  • Chichester
  • Coventry
  • Derby
  • Dundee
  • Durham
  • Edinburgh
  • Ely
  • Exeter
  • Glasgow
  • Gloucester
  • Hereford
  • Inverness
  • Kingston upon Hull
  • Lancaster
  • Leeds
  • Leicester
  • Lichfield
  • Lincoln
  • Liverpool
  • City of London
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Newport
  • Norwich
  • Nottingham
  • Oxford
  • Perth
  • Peterborough
  • Plymouth
  • Portsmouth
  • Preston
  • Ripon
  • Salford
  • Salisbury
  • Sheffield
  • Southampton
  • St Albans
  • St Davids
  • Stirling
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Sunderland
  • Swansea
  • Truro
  • Wakefield
  • Wells
  • Westminster
  • Winchester
  • Wolverhampton
  • Worcester
  • York
  • Wherever you are!