Paul Barnsley

A police inspector with over 25 years’ experience at Warwickshire Police has revealed how online mental health training set him on the right track after a period of absence from work. Inspector Paul Barnsley was so impressed with what he learnt that he has encouraged around 30 of his colleagues to sign up for the training.

Paul was researching mental health online to help him better understand his own experience and signed up for a qualification in working with people with mental health needs. As he made progress with his own recovery, Paul realised that what he had learnt was going to be highly useful in the workplace. He said, “The course opened my eyes and, now that I am back at work, I am finding what I have learnt highly beneficial in helping the way I interact with police service users.”

Paul is one of the students on the distance learning programme to have completed the highest number of courses. He found his studies so useful that he has been promoting the courses, which are free for adults and easy to access online, across his contacts including to neighbouring Leicestershire Police and within the NHS.

Paul continued, “I believe that it is always important to take a person-centred approach to policing. Simply knowing that someone with autism might respond differently depending on whether they are hypo or hyper-sensitive makes a difference. Once you know what to look out for, and understand something about different communication styles, it is possible to adapt your behaviour to improve interactions and put yourself in a better position to help.”

“As soon as I returned to work, I was immediately able to put into practice what I had learnt. I got quite excited about the potential impact and started talking to colleagues about how useful it was. I became so interested and enjoyed the first course so much, I have gone on to complete three more, and I am now on my fifth.

“I am hoping that, by spreading the word, we will see a real sea-change in awareness and understanding that improves our ability to interact with people who are experiencing mental health difficulties or who have long term conditions such as autism.”

Paul found the online assessment process simple to follow and the format meant that he could log on using any web-enabled device, even if he just had five minutes to spare during the day. He has gone on to complete courses in understanding behaviour that challenges, understanding autism, children and young people’s mental health, and working with individuals who have learning disabilities.

Paul Barnsley said, “I am really grateful to the College and can’t thank them enough for the role these courses have played in helping me to recover. I am one hundred per cent better now and my professional life has been re-energised by gaining this new perspective. I would urge others to sign up, whether the subject is directly relevant to their job role or not, because the more we all understand about mental health the better.”

To discover more about our Health and Wellbeing distance learning courses, click here.