De-escalation Training for Mental Health Professionals in Riyadh

CPI’s Adam Mellor gives his account of delivering de-escalation training to mental health professionals in Saudia Arabia.


15 March 2024
Adam Mellor

A practical solution for addiction specialists

CPI has recently commenced the delivery of Safety InterventionTM Certified Instructor Programmes in Saudi Arabia and I have been privileged to be the first GPI to teach in the capital city of Riyadh.

I have delivered two programmes so far, one in November 2023 and a second in January 2024. Both programmes were for staff from Qobolak and the Medical Cities project in Saudi Arabia. The staff members who attended the programmes were from a mental health facility in Riyadh, which specialises in addiction, with the focus of improving mental health in the region.

November 2023

I travelled to Riyadh from Heathrow on the Friday following an already busy week – I had presented a speech with a colleague at the Adult Safeguarding Conference in Manchester the day before travelling. All part of the busy life of a GPI, a role which I really enjoy at CPI. I arrived at my hotel at a late local time, but ready to spend my day off productively.

Saturday was my main free time during the week in Riyadh and I wanted to explore as much of the city as I could. I headed out early to visit the historical World Heritage Site of At-Turaif in the Diriyah region of Riyadh. I like exploring new cultures and history, so this was a great starting point, made even better by the hot weather. Following several hours of exploring At-Turaif, I took a taxi to the famous Kingdom Tower and the 300m high skybridge with views all over Riyadh.

 view of World Heritage Site of At-Turaif

Nine new Certified Instructors ready to change behaviours and reducing conflict 

Saudi Arabia’s working week is Sunday to Thursday, so my work started on Sunday morning. I arrived at the venue early to set the room up so that I was ready to greet the participants. There were 9 participants, ready to learn and develop their skills. We were expertly hosted by Mr Fawaz from Qobolak. It was a successful week in the classroom, with some great knowledge and practices shared. The first 9 CPI Certified Instructors from Saudi Arabia all passed the programme with great enthusiasm.

Getting the ball rolling!

Outside of the classroom, I made the most of visiting a new country during the evenings. On Monday evening I went to watch Al Nassr play in the Asian Champions League and watched Cristiano Ronaldo for possibly my final time. Blvd City was a place that was recommended to me by the participants, which has a lot of activities and restaurants. Blvd City was a fantastic recommendation by the group.

January 2024

I was privileged to be invited back to Riyadh for the second CPI Certified Instructor programme for Qobolak and the Medical Cities project in the first week of January 2024. This time with a little bit more knowledge of the city, I had booked some activities prior to travelling to experience more of the culture and hospitality that Riyadh has to offer. During my day off on the Saturday, I visited the Edge of the World. This is a guided tour and hike in the desert a 2.5-hour drive northwest of Riyadh. The spectacular views were breathtaking, and I would recommend this experience to anyone who visits the region.

CPI’s Adam Mellor at the Edge of the World in Saudi Arabia

  Picture: Adam at the Edge of the World, Saudia Arabia 

A person-centred, trauma informed approach

This was my first experience of teaching the fantastic CPI Safety Intervention™ 3rd Edition to a group of prospective Certified Instructors. This second programme was hosted at a new venue, with Mr Fawaz again enthusiastically hosting the group and me all week, including introducing me to some local cuisine. The hospitality from the people at Qobolak was fantastic during both of my visits to Riyadh.

Similarly to the previous group, the standard of teach backs from the 9 participants was excellent, with the new 3rd edition of the programme proving to be a success. There were some fantastic discussions facilitated as part of the updated edition of the programme, which explored how to support individuals who access their mental health facility by using a person centred and trauma informed approach. We referenced to values, culture, gender and other considerations that were relevant to the participants.

Absorbing new cultures

During the evenings, I visited Blvd World, which is a venue that showcases different countries and cultures from around the world. My final night was spent watching more football, this time it was the Spanish Super Cup semi-final between Barcelona and Osasuna.

Creating well-being throughout the workplace and beyond

Overall, we have added 18 excellent CIs to the CPI family worldwide in a new territory over the two programmes. This is an achievement that I am proud to have been a part of.

Good luck to all of the new CIs and I look forward to seeing how our partnership with Qobolak develops in the future!

A man puts his hand on another man's shoulders in an effort to comfort.

Safety Intervention

This training teaches staff de-escalation skills, non-restrictive and restrictive interventions

View Programme