Providing the right mental health support for your apprentices this World Mental Health Day

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound effects on many young people, turning their lives upside down.

Research conducted during lockdown found that 27 per cent of British teenagers felt ‘nervous, anxious or on edge’. And 20 per cent of young people may experience mental health problems in any given year.

Young people could be affected by COVID-19 disruption and by challenges at school,college, work or in their personal lives.
There has been a rise in the number of people in this age group accessing NHS mental health services.

Mental health should therefore be a priority for any employer considering recruiting apprentices — and support is available.

The Access to Work Mental Health Support Service (MHSS) for apprentices is delivered on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions by Maximus, a leading provider of specialist employment and skills support for disabled people and those with health conditions.

The service supports people who are experiencing mental health problems and provides tailored services for individuals’ needs.

Chris Kingsbury, Partnerships Manager for the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service said:

“Apprenticeships are brilliant opportunities for anyone to learn hands-on skills and build a successful career. However, for anyone looking for support with their mental health, it is important to know that help is available.”

Charlie, 21 from Birmingham, started working as an HR Apprentice just before the country went into lockdown.

Although she was initially performing well, she lacked confidence and doubted her ability to perform tasks efficiently and to an acceptable standard. She often looked for reassurance and guidance that was not readily available.

Charlie also experienced anxiety and emotional dysregulation, and she was referred to the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service for Apprentices for support.

Charlie’s assigned Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant suggested coping strategies and diaphragmatic breathing techniques for anxiety. She also had regular one-to-ones and was given advice and resources around worry management and challenging negative thoughts.

Towards the end of the MHSS, Charlie passed her exam and was taken on as a permanent employee.

Charlie said:

“Thank you for all of your support over the last few months, I feel a lot more confident and happy at work after our discussions.

“You really helped me find solutions and ways of working which helped both me and management to work as a team, rather than against each other and I’m really grateful.

“I have never really been able to hold a job down for long and I feel like now I could actually stay here as long as I wanted.

“My consultant was there for support whenever I needed, and I have actually seen a really positive change in my work life balance and my mental health / attitude toward work.”

Contact Maximus for support:

To qualify for the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service for Apprentices, an individual needs to be on an apprenticeship programme (attending, signed off sick or with an official start date). They must also have a mental health condition (diagnosed or undiagnosed) which has resulted in absence, or is causing them difficulties in continuing or starting their apprenticeship. This is no charge for the service.

If you would like to refer a young person, or for further information, please contact Maximus on 0300 456 8210.

08 October, 2021