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The goal

The Football Association (The FA) is the national governing body for football in England.

Mental Health Innovations worked with the FA to develop and deliver a bespoke training programme that would help support their managers navigate sometimes challenging conversations, enhance their wellbeing, and support their employees.

The process

Dr Ariele Noble, our Head of Research Psychology, worked closely with Dr Jenn Gandhi, The FA’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Manager, to identify the organisation’s mental health priorities and training requirements to develop this programme.

Our training offer was socratic in nature, meaning that it centred around what participants already know and involved asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions.

The training

So far Mental Health Innovations has delivered two sets of three, 90-minute sessions virtually and in person to 30 managers across all FA departments. Managers were encouraged to be active participants in the conversational sessions, to allow them to address the specific challenges they faced.

The sessions covered:

We facilitated free flowing integration to put all of these new skills into practice, based on real-life examples of challenging conversations the managers have had or could have, to ensure the most effective outcomes.

The outcome

"It has been an absolute pleasure working with Dr Ariele Noble. The programme has been a really positive addition to the support we are offering our managers as mental health and wellbeing becomes an increasingly focal part of everyone’s role. Having conversations about mental health, emotion and wellbeing can feel uncomfortable, it takes real courage to be vulnerable. The safety created through Ariele’s delivery style and openness throughout enabled some of those tough conversations to be explored."

Feedback from participants

‘It’s been a really eye opening valuable experience, I hope the course continues and is made available across the organisation, including at the most senior levels’

‘The only improvement I would ask is that we have more time available, the practice and skills development was so valuable’

Next steps

Additional sets of bespoke training will continue to be rolled out to managers across teams.