Social enterprise works with CACHE to help raise awareness and reduce suicide

Big Dog Little Dog (BDLD) is a two-man social enterprise focussed on reducing stigma around mental health. Both former chief executives, Bob Kitchin and Kevin Moore were friends running rival organisations – until they hit 50 and decided that they didn’t want to compete in the rat race anymore.

They wanted to do what they love, which is delivering energetic, often humorous and definitely effective training around mental health, mental illness, suicide and self-harm. Bob and Kevin decided from the start that this should be a not-for-profit social enterprise – they wanted to pay the bills whilst giving something back. Three years down the line, BDLD have already worked with over 3,000 learners, delivering accredited Mental Health First Aid courses, sector-specific webinars and bespoke workshops.

BDLD and CACHE have worked together to develop qualifications in suicide awareness and reduction, at a time when there’s a broad portfolio of mental health qualifications out there, but only a limited number solely targeted at this sensitive and life-saving subject. The qualifications developed by CACHE and BDLD are the first regulated awards in the UK designed to raise awareness of and reduce suicide.

The herd in the room

Kevin from BDLD said: “Did you know that a Time to Change survey suggested that people are more likely to talk about their debts and their sex life than their mental health? That’s got to change - too many lives are lost needlessly.

“It’s so important for employers to support their staff and have conversations about mental health in the workplace. Think about the massive contribution that work makes to your life - if you’re up at 7:00 Monday to Friday and home by 6:00, that’s 55 hours a week that you’re focussed on work. All but 4 or 5 hours of your day. Good work therefore has a fantastic effect on our mental health, but bad work can be the difference between healthy or ill, even life or death. And that Time to Change survey that I mentioned earlier? It suggests that only 13% of us will talk about our mental health at work. Never mind the elephant, it’s the herd in the room!”

Covid-19 impacting mental health

Kevin continued: “The current Covid-19 situation has impacted mental health significantly, in particular those with pre-existing mental health disorders may have found this time really challenging. Working from home can be challenging to our well-being, and we also worry about furloughed workers, as this is a massive number of working people who suddenly have no work to do and may be vulnerable. There is also an impact on the mental health of key workers, those who are critical to the Covid-19 response, faced with worries about going to work and leaving their loved ones, at a time when the majority of us were previously being told to ‘stay at home’.”

Training which can save lives

“BDLD deliver Mental Health First Aid in 5 different formats, as well as a lot of bespoke courses around mental health and mental illness. We have a client list that includes central government, local authorities, multi-nationals and small businesses. We also offer a consultancy service, helping organisations to change the way that they work to be more mental health-friendly.

“The development of the suicide prevention qualifications with CACHE is something that we’re very excited about, because we really need to move these conversations into the mainstream, which is critical at a time like this. They will focus on raising people’s awareness of suicide, which we need to do in order to normalise the conversation, and it will enable people - particularly frontline workers - to have conversations which can save more lives. Over 1 in 5 people have had suicidal thoughts, so the more we all know about the triggers, the signs and what effective services look like, the more we can look out for each other and hopefully save more lives.”

Collaborating with LearnBox and AELP

“Together, we’ve partnered with LearnBox, a market leader in the creation and delivery of high-quality video content. LearnBox empowers adult learners and targets workforce skills gaps, to enable them to thrive and grow, which is why we thought they would be a perfect partner for us to work with.  LearnBox has created high quality digital resources which allows the Level 2 Award to be fully delivered and assessed remotely on their platform.

“In addition to that, we’ve also been joined by Katrina Thomas, a business psychologist from AELP, who will be measuring the impact within key demographics in order to evaluate the success of the qualifications.

“CACHE has been amazing to work with. I’ve been in the skills sector since 1995 and I’ve never known an awarding organisation to be so committed to a project, so enthused about an idea and so willing to work in partnership. My sincerest thanks go out to everyone involved, from David as CEO, to the curriculum, accreditation and business development teams who have worked so hard to get their heads around the project, and who have even been guinea pigs in testing the content!”

The full interview with BDLD goes further into depth about the benefits of their service, the impact of Covid-19 on mental health, and why these qualifications are so vital. You can read the full interview here. To find out more about BDLD and the inspiring work that they do, visit their website.

We recently caught up with from Lucy Dunleavy, CEO and Founder at LearnBox, to find out more about the collaboration. Read the article.

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