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Dangerous Minds – staff training at St Martins

High drama, dangerous characters and multiple identities featuring Dr Bourne might sound like a blockbuster Hollywood series…but this was simply staff training at St Martins last week!

Dr Iain Bourne, a specialist in forensic mental health, delivered a three day training course in Norwich for our 130 members of staff on dangerous behaviour.

For the vast majority of the time, the environment at our hostels and services is stable, but incidents do occur from time to time. Some of the people we support are very unwell, and they may have experienced extreme trauma, which means their behaviour can be challenging and unpredictable.

The course covered topics including psychosis, violence and self harm. The dramatic training saw Dr Bourne appear in character in several different scenarios over the course of the training – looking and sounding like somebody who exhibited disturbing behaviour. The group was encouraged to assess the risk, understand the different types of aggression and the best way to respond.

The drama was not merely to entertain but to illustrate the application of good practice in situations where great confusion may reign and professionals may be under considerable pressure. 

HR Manager Jo Gillies said, “The staff team at St Martins is our biggest asset. Supporting vulnerable people requires energy, empathy, and at times a very swift response to de-escalate incidents to ensure team members and the people we support remain safe. Our employees are well equipped to deal with distressing circumstances and often this depends on trusting their intuition, taking charge calmly and communicating well as a team.”

Some comments from our team:

“Dangerous Minds training with Iain was absolutely brilliant, I got a lot out of it what I might be able to use in practice.”

“Iain’s experience, class and personality are second to none and I feel very privileged to have been part of this. The content was spot on, all team members felt they benefited from this and everyone was made to feel a part of it.”

“The enacted case studies really brought the whole thing to life and in my opinion lifted this training high above anything which could have been expected. I was very fortunate to be able to attend all three days and some of the things I’ve learned will stay with me forever.”

“It was very entertaining – Ian Bourne was brilliant.  He presented some very logical answers and creative ways of helping in difficult situations.  Impressed with the staff who put themselves in the front line – dealing with the service user in a very kind way.”

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