As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, REPs wanted to shine the spotlight on the Level 4 Industry Awards that we recognise, and that is endorsed by our independent endorsement provider PD:Approval.

We want to highlight:

  • the important work of the training providers who deliver them
  • and the importance of providing REPs instructors with the tools to support their clients who might have, or who are, experiencing mental health issues.

WRIGHT Foundation Training Division Director Lorraine Nicholson explained to us what to expect from attending the endorsed Level 4 Award in Mental Health and the impact that it is having for those instructors who have successfully completed it.

We asked Lorraine:

How long have you been endorsed to deliver the Level 4 Award in Mental Health? 

“WRIGHT Foundation recognised some 14 years ago that there was a need for a course with a comprehensive syllabus for those seeking to advance their knowledge of exercise and Mental Health. This programme has been recognised by REPS since the first course in Tipton in 2006. It continues to be independently endorsed by PD:Approval and recognised by the Register of Exercise Professionals, awarding 20 REPs CPD points to our successful learners.”

Where does WRIGHT Foundation deliver in the UK and what experience do instructors need to have before going on the Level 4 Industry Award in Mental Health? 

“We will deliver our course wherever there is a demand in the UK. It is very important that students have the suitable background knowledge to ensure the safety of the referral patient. They should have a REPS-recognised Exercise Referral qualification to attend this course.”

What has been the feedback from instructors on the course? 

“Some instructors have been apprehensive because of the vast subject of mental health, but students have commented that they found the highly-qualified lecturers had an excellent delivery style and were very knowledgeable. They worked at a perfect pace and all the content was at an appropriate level, which gave them a first-class learning experience.

“A student from our London course commented: ‘Fantastic teaching, easy to understand, put me at ease, learnt a lot, just a great experience. Teaching level very high and great knowledge, enjoyed a lot’.”

Do you have any impact stories or statistics on how this award has helped those with mental health and the people close to them?

“Bristol University, like many other Higher Education institutions, has sadly seen a rise in the number of suspected suicides among its student population. While trying to understand the reasons behind these untimely deaths, the University has taken a number of active steps to address the poor mental health of its students, one of which is introducing the Healthy Minds programme. 

“The Healthy Minds programme is run by the Division of Sport, Exercise and Health and has a pioneering approach to user-led physical activity that seeks to positively impact on students experiencing mental health difficulties whilst at University. Students who approach the Student Counselling Team or the Mental Health Advisory Service showing symptoms of poor mental health are clinically assessed to be accepted on the scheme. Their team of exercise professionals then work to create an activity plan for users which is based around three months of free access to premium membership, including the gym, pool, exercise classes and social sport opportunities. They get multiple contact points with their mentor in the gym to progress their routines and are guided towards an exit route that looks to maintain their health behaviour, either through the gym or by joining an active club or society.

“Five members of the Healthy Minds programme attended and qualified on our endorsed Level 4 Mental Health Award and, as a result, have supported around 60 students so far. They hope to reach and support upwards of 500 students in 2019.”

Follow the links for two stories from Bristol students, Beth and Isaac, who have been helped by this programme.

What positive impact has this had on the instructors who have undertaken the Level 4 Mental Health award?

“The five members of the Healthy Minds programme who have the Level 4 Mental Health award found that it turned out to be the perfect training opportunity to support their project and prepare staff for working with this specialist population. This has allowed them to expand the Healthy Minds programme to support the staff as well as students.

“One member of staff said that the course was insightful and in depth and really reinforced the work they had previously done in designing and implementing the project to support mental health through physical activity.”

We are really pleased to see the impact that the PD:Approval-endorsed award is having on Bristol University students and staff. Thank you to Lorraine and her team who are championing not only Mental Health but many of the other nine categories in the Specialist Exercise Instructor Category:

• Cardiac Disease
• Falls prevention
• Stroke
• Mental Health
• Back pain
• Obesity & diabetes
• Chronic respiratory disease
• Cancer rehabilitation
• Long term neurological conditions

If you would like to become a Level 4 Specialist Exercise Instructor in any of the above disciplines, visit the PD:Portal to find an endorsed provider.