New research shows training can significantly improve leaders’ mental health skills 

June 7, 2024

Dr. Jazz Croft

Science Liaison

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A leader’s confidence in managing their own mental health can significantly impact wellbeing and performance across an organization. Gaining mental health skills can empower leaders to combat burnout and support their team’s performance – giving them the ability to signpost to resources, improve how they lead, and destigmatize mental health at work.

Despite these opportunities, there are barriers that can restrict leaders’ ability to support staff and positively impact employee wellbeing. These include unsupportive workplace cultures, heavy workloads, and a lack of professional development to support building the skills and confidence needed to lead in this area effectively. These factors have contributed to a skills gap, where nearly a third of employees feel their manager doesn’t care about their wellbeing. 

To address this problem, we need scalable, accessible, on-demand leadership training that can change working life for the better. In Unmind’s latest scientific trial, we explored the impact of training and how an evidence-backed approach can tackle the current mental health skills deficit.

How can leaders develop their skills? 

Our leadership training is designed to meet the needs of leaders in the workplace. It consists of on-demand digital training that can help build skills with just over an hour of content. The training is tailored to address the specific needs of leaders, challenge common misconceptions about mental health, and empower managers with practical ways to apply their learning in daily life. 

Our leadership training course consists of:

  • 7 core sessions, each ten minutes long.
  • Written by clinical and organizational psychologists.
  • A mix of videos, text, infographics, and questionnaires.
  • 50 supplementary videos as part of the broader leadership training resources.

After a successful pilot testing and global launch of leadership skills training for leaders, we launched our formal scientific trial of leadership training using a gold-standard randomized controlled trial (RCT) design. 

What’s the impact of leadership training? 

In one of the first RCTs of online leadership training that focuses on skills around mental health and wellbeing, we recruited 300 leaders from the US and UK, split evenly between male and female participants, covering a broad range of ages, ethnicities, levels of seniority, work patterns, and workplace industries. 

The sample was split randomly into two groups: trial (training) and control (no action). Participants in the trial group completed training over one month. Leaders’ skills (confidence, knowledge, proactive behaviors) were measured in both groups at baseline, post-training, and three months later.

Our scientific results 

We saw a positive impact on mental health skills both after training and three months later. This includes improved manager knowledge of mental health, and greater confidence to engage with mental health issues to support themselves and their teams compared to before training, and compared to the control group. 

These areas of mental health included managing their own self-care proactively, raising concerns with their team, and finding ways to nurture greater psychological safety at work. The training material was also highly rated by leaders, with 91% of managers rating training as excellent or good. 

These results suggest that training has a positive, sustained impact that can benefit leaders from a diverse range of backgrounds and sectors. 


To build organizations where employees perform at their best, leaders must champion mental health and wellbeing, for both their own health and their teams’ benefit. To do so effectively, leaders need to develop mental health skills as part of their professional development. 

These findings contribute to the growing scientific evidence base that mental health skills can positively impact managers and their teams and can be taught effectively using digital training methods.

To find out more about how Unmind can help build better leaders, book a call with an Unminder.