Everything you need to know about the new Mental Health Fatigue course. Diversity expert Gamiel Yafai explains.

25th February 2021

As specialists in Diversity, Inclusion, and Unconscious Bias, Marshall E-learning is delighted to work with Gamiel Yafai, an expert in Diversity and Inclusion. We talk to him to find out more about an exciting new Mental Health Fatigue e-learning programme he designed which takes the learner on a whole new journey.

Tell us about yourself Gamiel

I am a diversity and inclusion strategist and I have been for the last 20 years. Prior to that, I worked in publishing. I focused on recruitment advertising, which is how I got into Diversity and Inclusion. After a number of years heading Diversity Practices for the likes of Havas and Penna, I set up Diversity Marketplace in 2005 and have continued to work in an area that gives me purpose. I have not looked back!

As a diversity specialist, why the interest in mental health?

Mental Health is all around us; it can be both visible and invisible, it comes and goes and can impact on anyone, even the happiest member of your family or friends. It has a huge impact on the individual, their families and their workplace. We can help others, but we are not always able to identify mental health issues. There is also a stigma that stops people from talking about it too. I want to help make it ‘ok not to be ok’ and to make mental health  as physical health. I also work with some incredible mental health specialist who helped bring the programme to life

Why did you choose to collaborate with Marshall E-Learning?

Marshall E-learning has a great reputation for building programmes. I have known and collaborated with David (David Marshall CEO and founder of Marshall ELearning) before. I wanted to work with an organisation that could help me instil more empathy into e-learning.

What product have you developed with Marshall E-Learning?

I approached David last year to demo a virtual reality/augmented reality mental health training programme which put the user in the shoes of someone who was suffering from mental health fatigue. By experiencing what someone else is experiencing, a user will have more empathy for the topic, and the learning is likely to have more of an impact.

Sounds fantastic and really unique – where did you get the idea from?

The thoughts behind the course go back a few years. I had conversations with people around different aspects of diversity training and why content didn’t lead to transformational change.

For something to ‘land’ there needs to be empathy, a connection with the individual that enables you (the learner) to step into the shoes of somebody else (with mental health or other issues).

The original content of the Mental Health Fatigue course comes from a virtual reality (VR) game that I created with an organisation in Australia, so I have a whole programme that allows me to step into the body of someone different.

With this course, created in a Covid-19 world, it allows someone to experience mental health fatigue. This unique mix of VR and classroom training makes for a new e-learning experience. We tested it with people who have experienced mental health fatigue and they reported how, when they put the headset on, it replicated how they felt. More on this to follow…

 

I also had conversations with my work colleague David Beeney, who inadvertently me to the world of diversity and inclusion about two decades ago. He’s a close friend and I didn’t have a clue about his mental health when I was working with him. A few years back he started talking about his challenges and created his own company Breaking The Silence. Throughout this course David provides insights into Ramesh’s situation, and discusses his own personal mental health journey, which makes the messaging even more powerful.

How does it work?

Due to the pandemic last year it would have been difficult to promote a VR course. However, I met with David prior to the pandemic and demoed the VR and he loved it. He asked if I had thought about using it as e-learning course.

I thought about how it could create a similar experience to using a VR headset. We created Ramesh (the main character in the course). It is his inner voice that creates the empathy with Ramesh and how he’s feeling. It is powerful as it is based around thought processes, as opposed to conversations, which creates empathy for the learner.

What are the next steps?

We will start to promote the course as widely as possible to increase awareness and provide support where necessary. The course is a springboard to start the conversation about mental health fatigue. The course can be customised with bespoke scenarios and organisations have the option to add their own photography and policies to the course.

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