Welcome to the Knowledge and Understanding Framework

A logo for Knowledge and Understanding Framework Training

As part of our strategy to improve the support and experiences people with personality disorders have of services, we are offering free Knowledge and Understanding Framework (KUF) training to those working in mental health, social care, criminal justice, and housing services.

KUF is a national training programme designed for anyone working with people with complex mental health needs associated with a diagnosis of ‘personality disorder.’ The training takes a co-produced, multiagency, trauma-informed approach to working with the complexities associated with this diagnosis.

KUF is designed to:

  • Explore different perspectives around complex mental health needs associated with the diagnosis of ‘personality disorder’,
  • Outline different ways of understanding complex mental health needs through examining how someone’s past experiences can affect their present,
  • Develop an understanding of how to work effectively with people with complex mental health needs, considering how teams and individuals can remain effective and resilient,
  • Reflect on different approaches to working with people with complex mental health needs and the impact of reactions and responses,
  • Explore the impact of working with people with complex mental health needs on the wider team.

Discover further details about what the training covers: KUF 3 Day Multi-agency Online Training Schedule [docx] 70KB

Course format

The course consists of 3 days of facilitated online learning (09:00 to 16:30) and 6 online modules which are to be completed outside of the training days over the intervening 3 weeks. 

To complete the course, students need to attend all 3 days of the course and complete the online modules and exercises. Students will be awarded a certificate once the course has been completed.


Simon Barker

A portrait photo of Simon Barker I have worked in the mental health sector for over 20 years, developing co-designed and co-delivered services for people living and working in Norfolk and Suffolk. A large part of this work involved orientating staff to new models of working within services that champion lived experience, recovery work and the social model. I have my own lived experience of navigating mental health challenges.

Sally Harrington

A portrait photo of Sally Harrington I’ve worked in the mental health sector since 1985, in a variety of settings including the NHS, Social Services, and several voluntary sector organisations. I’ve always been committed to innovation in mental health work, and to promoting the value and influence of lived experience. I have substantial experience as a mental health carer, and have a background of complex emotional needs myself.

Carl Coughlin  A portrait photo of Carl Coughlin

For the past 10 years I have worked as a volunteer in mental health services, co-developing and co-delivering the Personality Disorder and Complex Needs Strategy for NSFT. I have also worked on Needs Typing and Personality Disorder Bitesize training, a Living Well with Personality Disorder course with the Recovery College, and as a Supportive Friend on an acute ward.

I have lived increasingly well with emotionally unstable personality disorder since diagnosis 12 years ago. It was always my ambition to become a Lived Experience KUF trainer as KUF was the first course I attended (in 2013) which confirmed to me that a good level of management of personality disorder is realistic. I am delighted to have been appointed as the KUF Lived Experience Trainer for Suffolk.

Anya Jarvais A portrait photo of Anya Jarvais

Caring for family members with serious mental health issues and physical disabilities since childhood, I have over 25 years of experience in this field. My recovery journey from traumatic triple bereavement, complex emotional needs, and other mental health issues adds to my wealth of lived experience. I studied BSc Combined STEM, specialising in psychology, and became the first Carers’ Peer Support Worker serving Woodlands Hospital. I am inspired to contribute to on-going improvement of services for those diagnosed with a personality disorder or related labels, through collaborative delivery of the Knowledge and Understanding Framework training programme.

Mark Brown A portrait photo of Mark Brown

I have worked in NSFT mental health services for over eight years, including young people and psychosis services, as well as in a locality lead role for the Trust’s Recovery College. In these roles I particularly enjoyed supervising, training and coaching people to use their lived experience to inspire others and co-develop services. Prior to this, I worked as a qualified schoolteacher having graduated from Durham University with an MA in Education. In addition to my professional learned experiences, I am also proud to bring my own lived experiences of mental health to the team.

What people have said about the training

  • "Excellent training and very well delivered."
  • "I loved this training, and it has given me confidence to be able to stand for culture change."
  • "The training was really comprehensive, thought provoking and at times made me challenge my beliefs."

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