• Compiled by: Jane Jefferson (20th April 2010)
  • Primary Care: Health Trainer
  • NHS Doncaster Health Trainer: James Coker

pic1James Coker is an NHS Doncaster Health Trainer, based at Rossington Learning Centre in one of the Doncaster localities. James shares this role with a second Health Trainer, Sophie Ross-Smith. James focuses on one half of the NHS Doncaster geographical area and Sophie the other half. James’ role includes promoting a variety of health interventions to reduce health inequalities across Doncaster. The project sees the role of Health Trainers as vital in promoting the message about the positive relationship between ‘health’ and ‘work’.

The beginning of engagement and who was involved:

The Better Workplace-Better Mental Health Project met with Karen Bielby, Public Health Development Worker – Rossington, who co-manages the Health Trainers. Both Karen and the project were promoting health interventions at a Job Centre Plus health promotion event which had been facilitated for staff. Karen linked the project up with the Doncaster Health Trainers.

The beneficiary’s needs and concerns:

The Health Trainers wanted to find out more about mental health awareness; the relationship between health and work; and how we could support the Health Trainers in their work.

How the needs and issues were tackled:

pic11The project agreed to deliver the ‘Working for Better Mental Health’ Training to the Health Trainers and Rossington Learning Net staff/volunteers. The project has identified that there are many front-line workers who can promote employment support and vocational rehabilitation, so has promoted this beyond GPs and health care professionals to other front line workers e.g. Community Development Workers. The project delivered the training which included: the work agenda and links with social inclusion; the benefits of vocational rehabilitation for mental health; work related stress; signs and symptoms of poor mental health; related legislation; hallmarks of a mental healthy employer; support provisions in Doncaster; and how work benefits everyone. As a support to the training, the project provided James and Sophie with ‘Working for Better Mental Health’ Toolkits comprising prescriptions for Shaw Trust, Pathways to Work, Condition Management Programme, Job Mates, Access to Work, and Volunteering; and also a sign-posting matrix to direct users towards the appropriate support for their needs. The Toolkit also includes information on Vocational Rehabilitation and how this is extremely effective in improving the health of communities and patients.

James has also now been provided with information about the ‘Do-it’ website which provides information about volunteering opportunities and other supporting information. The website allows individuals to search for volunteering opportunities within their own geographical area. James will now go on to promote this with service users. Volunteering is an area of interest for many of the Health Trainer service users.

Outcomes and Impact:

James and Sophie work on a one-to-one basis with clients. Agreed goals and targets are set for the individuals that they work with. Goals and targets may include food diaries, goals setting, and 1:1 follow-ups. The work is needs-led including promotion of meaningful activity for health. James is aware of users of the Health Trainer services who have gone on to access meaningful activity and have benefited from this. The Health Trainers have supported participation by ‘buddying’ service users to access activities. This has improved the social interaction and emotional well-being of service users. James confirms;

“The ‘Working for Better Mental Health’ Toolkit fully explains what providers do and the matrix is useful.”

pic111James confirms that his own knowledge of mental health has also been raised through the accompanying training, and he is more aware of the signs and symptoms of poor mental health. James also has more self awareness and is more aware of how his own work role supports his mental wellbeing. This knowledge and awareness is beneficial and transferable to his service users within the communities of Doncaster.

James confirms the key messages for others to take from this case study are:

  1. We all have mental health
  2. There are benefits of work and meaningful activity for mental health, e.g. having a goals and improving motivation
  3. There is help out there from a range of organisations
  4. This work helps to reduce the stigma around mental health


The Project is now supporting James to know more about the provisions of the services which are included in the Toolkit. The Better Workplace-Better Mental Health Project is facilitating a Condition Management Programme Taster day on 30th June 2010 which James and Sophie will be able to attend alongside other Doncaster healthcare professionals and front-line workers.

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