The mental health of young people appears to be high up on the agenda for many at the moment and this is a great thing to see. However, a culture shift is necessary to ensure that they talk openly about their state of mind and for them to be able to seek the right support. Many don’t realise that they may be experiencing mental ill-health symptoms or that something may be wrong. As apprenticeship numbers are set to rise due to the apprenticeship levy, it is a good time to look at ways at how young people with mental ill-health can be supported whilst they do an apprenticeship. We have listed three ways below:
It should be ensured that employers, college and training providers (such as ourselves) have a thorough understanding of mental health in the workplace. These institutions need to be empathetic to the challenges that young people go through and be aware of how they can offer an appropriate system of support for them.Many may shy away from offering opportunities to young people with mental health difficulties because of social taboos combined with a lack of knowledge. But with knowledge of how support works in an apprenticeship or college setting, the confidence of learners, as well as training providers, can grow.
The next factor that needs to be considered is the support. It needs to be ensured that it is tailored and individual. Perhaps a mental health champion or mentor would need to be provided. Maybe even seeking support from the local community or mental health teams and from a local NHS provision or support groups. The learning institutions must be also to direct students with mental health problems to the appropriate staff and services.
Once you have installed knowledge and gained support for those that need it, now it can be time to address preconceived notions of mental health. In order to allow for open conversation about mental health, the learning providers can create a positive environment. To allow for an area for support and not stigma. This can also be done by addressing mental health in a variety of contexts. Thus, normalising the topic and assisting young people to access support services when they need to.