For additional information and printable templates, download The Mental Health Training Framework. 

What Training Does Your Organization Need? 

These questions will help determine target areas for training: 

  • What populations do your programs serve? 
  • What are the defining characteristics of the populations you serve? 
  • What types of services do you provide? 
    • Prevention 
    • Promotion 
    • Intervention 
  • Are the services short term or long term, in nature? 
  • What challenges do your staff have in supporting the people they serve? Eg. Not enough knowledge.
  • What depth of knowledge do staff need to have in one or more of the following areas? 
    • Mental Health Awareness 
    • Trauma Informed Care 
    • Brain Development and Impact of Trauma
    •  Addictions and Substance Misuse
    • Workplace Wellness 
    • Suicide Prevention
  • What competencies do staff need in order to effectively serve your client groups and their respective complexities? 
  • When hiring new staff, which of the following activating competencies do you consider? 
    • Empathy 
    • Ethics & Integrity 
    • Self-Sustainability 
    • Non-Judgemental
    • Adaptability/Decisiveness
    •  Initiative/Perseverance 
    • Self-awareness 
    • Stress Management
    • Interpersonal influence
    • Assertiveness 
    • Advocacy 

What behaviours (skills) would you like to change within your organization?

Training Plan Description

 Answering the questions regarding what your training needs are, will have helped you gain an understanding of staff training needs across your organization. The next step is to develop a training plan that will address those needs. The plan contains details such as trainings selected, for which staff, dates and who is responsible for arrangements. 

When developing your training plan, consider how trainings are linked to:

  • Organization’s philosophy on training, as this will dictate the amount, types and expected outcomes of training efforts. 
  • Staff roles, responsibilities and needs. These will determine topic areas for training, as well as which competencies (knowledge, behavioural, activating) need to be developed.
  • Organizational and program goals and outcomes. This will help align the development of staff proficiencies with organizational effectiveness and performance. 
Training Identified For Whom Training Dates Expected Participant Outcomes Who will arrange the training Completion Date

Get a printable template by downloading The Mental Health Training Framework

Tips on Evaluation of Participants 

Obtaining feedback directly from participants will provide important information on how relevant, effective and transferable staff perceive the training outcomes to be. Pre and post testing can also be used. Evaluation of on-going benefits of training can be done through staff feedback, supervision and performance appraisals. 

Below are some key questions you may want to answer: 

  • What new knowledge/behavioral/activating competencies have staff acquired? 
  • Have participants successfully transferred new knowledge/behavioural/activating competencies to their practice?
  • Have those competencies been sustained over time? 
  • How has this impacted staff’s effectiveness with clients?
  • How have the acquisition of these competencies contributed to the program’s/organization’s effectiveness (outcomes)?

Maximizing the Benefits of Online Training 

  • When selecting online training, be sure to identify the time involved, so that you can plan your session(s) accordingly. 
  • Do online training as a group. Although not all staff may need the same types of training, where possible, gather those with like needs together to view training sessions. 
  • Use the Reflective Questions. The Training Coordinator can facilitate group discussions to enable a deeper understanding of the content and assist the group in applying what they have learned to their work. 
  • Consider having group view the content prior to your session(s) and be prepared to come together for reflective conversations. 
  • For multi-module online courses, choose those modules that best meet the needs of the group. You may want to consider breaking down longer courses into a number of smaller sessions. This would allow participants time to absorb the information and determine how it impacts their work. Subsequent sessions could then begin with a short debriefing discussion of last session’s ‘take-aways’.

Reflective Questions for Online Training

These questions are intended to facilitate group discussions to enable a deeper understanding of the content and assist the group in applying what they have learned to their work. They are ordered to logically take participants from knowledge to application of principles. Therefore, it is recommended to use all six questions. A couple of optional questions have been included, at your discretion. 

  1. What is your understanding of [Topic]? 
  2. What are you currently doing to integrate XXX into your work? 
  3. How is what you do consistent with evidence-based practice?
  4. Based on the information in the training, what additional ways could you use to promote XXX with your clients? How might you do that?
  5. What do you plan on doing differently? When?
  6. How will you/your team continue to keep up to date regarding new research and/or best practices in XXX?


  • Are there any barriers you can identify that will impact the use of XXX in your practice?
  • How can these barriers be removed, decreased or worked around?

Evaluation your Training

  • Who did you involve in the planning phase? All levels of staff? Senior management/leadership? Clients? 
  • Did you receive the input you needed to properly target the training needs of your staff? 
  • Are there other stakeholders that could have provided valuable feedback? Eg. referral sources, partnering organizations, funders. 
  • Which training sessions did your staff participate in? What was their feedback? 
  • What elements of the training were they able to integrate into their daily practice?
  •  How are you able to measure this? Supervision? 
  • How accurately did you identify what the training needs are within your organization/community/system? 
  • How well did your plan reflect the training needs of your organization/community/system? 
  • What have your staff said about individual training sessions and training plan as a whole? 
  • Have any of the ideas proposed in training been adopted in practice, and how well are they working? 
  • Do supervisors see differences in people’s attitudes, methods, or competency? Do staff members discuss training issues with supervisors and with one another? 
  • What positive impact has training had on the program and organization in terms of overall performance or effectiveness? 
  • Have you solicited feedback from clients and external stakeholders, about the competence of your services in the areas that the training program addressed? Have there been changes in the way things are done or changes in the effectiveness of the organization? Have there been changes in the way the organization is perceived? 
  • What will you do now, in terms of training, to expand the knowledge, behavioural and/or activating competencies of your staff? 
  • What new training needs have emerged as a result of implementing your training plan? 


Andriotis, N. 2018. Training Needs Analysis. A Step By Step Guide to Identify Performance Gaps in Your Organization. Retrieved from

Beech, B., Leather, P. 2006. Workplace violence in the health care sector: A review of staff training and integration of training evaluation models. Aggression and Violent Behavior 11 (2006) 27–43. Retrieved from 

NCHRP Synthesis 362. 2006. Training Programs, Processes, Policies and Practices. Chapter 2: Essential Components of an Effective Training Program. Retrieved from National Academic Press. 

Jones, G. 2014. Occupational Safety. 8 Key Elements of an Effective Training Program: Design, Measurement, Continuous Improvement. Retrieved from:

Community Toolbox. Developing Training Programs for Staff. Retrieved from

Skills Active. A Guide to Successful Workforce Development Training in Wales. Retrieved from