Meet the national training team
We are a team of seven with many years of experience in training and education. We have been involved in SMHFA since it began in 2004 and we have guided over 300 instructors through the training process.
Stuart has worked as an English teacher, advisor, communications lecturer, education manager, and consultant in the Lothians for longer than he cares to remember. Along with his work with the National Training Team he is also gainfully employed as a mental health trainer for a voluntary sector organisation for whom he has been delivering values-based and recovery-focussed training throughout Scotland. Stuart has also written articles for the Guardian and a book on Robert Louis Stevenson.His most recent novel, John McPake and the Sea Beggars, was published in 2014.
Deborah worked for ten years managing a voluntary sector mental health day service before moving to the NHS ten years ago. She has a strategic role in mental health improvement, working with partners in local authorities and the voluntary sector. Deborah joined the national Training Team in 2014, having been an active SMHFA instructor since 2009 and leads the Tayside SMHFA Instructors’ Network. She was also involved in developing, and is part of the national training team for the Young People version of SMHFA.
Sandy has worked in education and training for more than 20 years. As well as being the part of the National Training Team for SMHFA she works for The College Development Network as an advisor and is involved in the design, development and delivery of training and resources to support wider inclusion agenda. Her specific focus has been on developments within the area of mental health and wellbeing in collaboration with the Government and NHS Health Scotland. She has been involved in the delivery of Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid since the early pilot phase in 2003.
Anne has been involved in the field of mental health for over 25 years, both initially as a user of mental health services and latterly, following recovery. She operated the SAMH National Information Service for 11 years before becoming an independent trainer developing and delivering a host of mental health and social care based training UK wide to organisations working with mental health service users and also to organisations committed to raising awareness of mental health in the workplace. Anne has been a SMHFA instructor since 2005 and is also an instructor in MHFA for the Armed Forces Community and has a particular interest in Veterans and Combat PTSD, She is also a counsellor with CRUSE Bereavement Care Scotland.
Tom is a highly experienced trainer, human resource manager and consultant. He has an Honours Degree in Psychology and is a Fellow of the CIPD with a special interest in Occupational Psychology. For the last five years Tom has focussed most of his energy on mental health training and consultancy. Along with Stuart and Margaret, Tom has been part of the National Training Team for SMHFA since it was formed in 2004. In addition he is part of the National Training Team for Mentally Healthy Workplace Training.
Role of the team
When you begin your training as an instructor one member of the team becomes your mentor. She or he will:
- give you guidance and advice
- help you work your way through the training
- give feedback as you practice your skills
- authorise your approval as a fully fledged instructor.
Each member of the training team is an active SMHFA instructor so we are able to understand the challenges and joys of training.