Mental Health Awareness training for NHS Link Workers

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We have a full house for our Mental Health Awareness course on 21st, 27th and 29th July. The three half-day Zoom-based workshops will deliver the equivalent of Mental Health First Aid England’s course but very much with a localised focus.

The course uses a framework of evidence-based research to help delegates understand how and why poor mental health arises, how to support others and how to foster good mental health. It’s also an opportunity for discussions relevant to the current COVID-19 pandemic and its effect more widely on mental health.  It’s part of a wider programme of professional support and training that CAN has been commissioned by Norfolk and Waveney CCG to provide to link workers in the new Primary Care Network (PCN) Social prescribing Service.

The provision of social prescribing across Norfolk is complex and each PCN is looking to evolve their service to best meet their operational requirements and specification. Link workers come from a variety of backgrounds with varying skills and experience, and a degree of practical variation also exists between individual roles.

CAN is providing ‘wrap-around’ professional support to include development of education and training work programmes. Key elements are:

  • a consistent offer of support across Norfolk and Waveney 
  • support that does not impede local variation 
  • help for Link Workers to navigate and understand the local system
  • mentoring support and guidance in troubleshooting work issues
  • a training programme covering key areas of need and
  • opportunities for peer support.


CAN has a good deal of experience in professional service delivery and a very comprehensive understand of the health service sectors across Norfolk.  Working as we do with over 500 organisations directly a year, and with links to more than 5,000 groups, volunteers and community champions, our practical experience gives us an unparalleled network of contacts at grassroots and provider level. In particular, membership of the Primary Care Programme Board, Health and Wellbeing Board, and local delivery groups supports a strong understanding of the overall sector landscape. We can utilise this to support Link Workers to find help, make connections and address barriers.

We are ourselves already established as social prescribing providers. We lead the delivery in West Norfolk and Breckland – supporting more than 1,600 clients so far. It’s one of the highest performance rates across Norfolk and resulted in 2019 in us being a finalist in the first ever National Social Prescribing awards. As a result, we have a detailed understanding of the day to day challenges of delivering Social Prescribing and the support needs of Link Workers.

CAN’s experience of delivering social prescribing is particularly crucial, based on key areas of need within the likely client group – such as social isolation, social welfare benefit issues, and mental health - and also the issues and concerns reported by Link Workers dealing with clients with complex needs, being aware of service boundaries, and liaising with other services.

Our programme has already delivered training on Motivational Interviewing – a key technique in working with clients with a variety of needs. The forthcoming Mental Health Awareness training aims to introduce key concepts to help understand why people become unwell, how to engage those living with mental health conditions – and how to best support their long-term recovery.

For more information about the training programme and Social Prescribing in Breckland and West Norfolk please email Freedom Duma at [email protected]