Leading media organisation expands their mental health network through training


DC Thomson is one of the UK’s leading media organisations. It primarily publishes newspapers and magazines – but has also diversified into new media, digital technology, retail and television interests.

The DC Thomson Group includes global genealogy company Findmypast, leading IT business services provider brightsolid, multimedia studio Beano Studios, events company PSP Media Group and - alongside DC Thomson Media - magazine publishers Aceville, The Stylist Group and Puzzler Media.

It employs around 1,600 members of staff across a diverse group of companies, with a headquarters in Dundee, plus a London base in Fleet Street.


DC Thomson established a mental health first aid (MHFA) network in 2018 - and has been expanded in the subsequent years, with several cohorts of employees attending training courses with us.

The organisation decided to expand the size of it’s MHFA team as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, as a pro-active measure to ensure employee wellbeing.

Engagement Assistant Hailey Combe said:

“DC Thomson has a strong focus on the holistic wellbeing of its people. The pandemic gave rise to a number of concerns for people's wellbeing, as it did everywhere.”


DC Thomson wanted to increase the size of its MHFA network, so opted for the online version of our two-day Mental Health First Aid course.

The course gives participants a better understanding of mental health, the breadth of mental health issues and how to approach each situation in a non-judgemental and empathetic manner.

Hailey commented:

“This training was primarily carried out to strengthen our network and expand it across the group and the country. Having the additional delegates meant more people to speak to.”


Hailey admitted that there had been some doubts about the online delivery method, but said these were dispelled when the employees reported back from the course.

She said:

“Our other groups of delegates were taught in the face-to-face physical environment, so there was a slight concern how it would work online - but the training was faultless.


“Every session ran smoothly, with the same caution and consideration for the extremely sensitive subjects broached.


“Although it was an emotionally intensive course, everyone appreciated learning more about each topic covered and it gave them the confidence to manage situations in the future.


“We've now got a variety of people in different group companies, at multiple levels of the business, supporting one another and championing mental wellbeing.”


“It has been a massive benefit! It's given individuals more choice in who they reach out to, whether that is speaking to someone they know or the opposite - someone they don't know at all.


“Though all cases remain anonymous, it's been helpful for us to recognise where we need to focus our wellbeing efforts and understand the day-to-day worries.


“We have a really engaged group of Mental Health First Aiders who are active and supportive of each other.  We have regular MHFA meetings to check in and a MHFA Team channel where people can post and share stories.”