Looking After Your Mental Health: Support & Resources for Apprentices

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This week is Mental Health Awareness Week 2022. While discussion around mental health should be encouraged every day of the year, awareness campaigns like this can be a great way to kickstart conversations, take time to focus on wellbeing, and champion the work of mental health organisations.

In that spirit, we’re joining in the discussion and sharing our top tips on maintaining good mental health as an apprentice. In this blog, we’ll look at ways to look after your mental wellbeing, boost your mood, and access help and support.

Mental Health Awareness Week Theme 2022: Loneliness

Every year, the Mental Health Foundation sets a theme to focus on. This year the theme is Loneliness. Since the pandemic, loneliness has affected more and more people. Reducing loneliness will be a significant step towards a mentally healthy society.

5 things to do if you are ever feeling lonely:

  • Stay connected: try calling a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor to talk about your feelings.
  • Join an online group or class that focuses on something you enjoy. This could range from joining a sports team, art class, or even a book club.
  • Get outside: Try to get out and about. Getting into the fresh air can really help your mindset and boost your mood.
  • Volunteer: Dedicating some of your time to working with the elderly or working a couple of hours in a charity shop can help draw you away from the feeling of loneliness by giving back to your community.
  • Remind yourself that this isn’t a permanent feeling – however overwhelming it feels, loneliness won’t last forever.

Looking after your mental health

Your mental health is a huge part of your overall health picture. Your physical health can impact your mental health and the other way around.

Small changes to your daily routine, such as drinking more water, getting active, and fuelling your body with healthy foods can boost your mood and make a big impact on your health in general.

Physical activity can release endorphins and lower your levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). This can have a positive impact on managing stress and anxiety and can even help you sleep better.

This May, in support of Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, the Mental Health Foundation are encouraging everyone to walk, jog or run the distance of 80 miles in May. If this is something which could benefit you, find out more about the 80 Miles in May Challenge

Of course, physical activity doesn’t have to resemble anything from your school PE lessons if you don’t want it to. Any activity that increases your heart rate counts as exercise. Whether you enjoy dancing, playing with your dog, gardening, swimming, skipping, climbing, yoga, hiking, jumping, running, lifting weights or cycling to get around – anything that gets you moving can benefit your mental wellbeing without a netball in sight.

Find out more about how to build exercise into your self-care routine with this great guide from the Mental Health Foundation.

Managing workplace stress and anxiety

If you are experiencing stress, anxiety, low mood, or a situation that is affecting your mental health, speaking to someone you trust can often help.

If you feel that you need immediate assistance or would like to speak to a mental health professional, there is a list of useful resources and contacts at the end of this blog.

For issues such as anxiety at work or stress about your apprenticeship deadlines, sometimes it can be helpful to ask yourself what you need to resolve the root on your worries, and then communicate this to people who have the power to help. 

Often, people won’t know that you are experiencing a problem until you tell them.

Taking a breath, looking at a situation with fresh eyes, and asking for what you need to succeed can be a small yet effective way to prevent a stressful situation from taking over.

Where to go for mental health support during your apprenticeship

Your Learning Mentor or Coach is a great point of contact throughout the programme. Coaches at Baltic provide academic and pastoral support at every stage of your apprenticeship. They are there to provide advice and guidance and help you get the best out of your training experience. 

If you would like to speak to someone confidentially about your mental health and wellbeing, you also have access to our Mindful Employer helpline as a Baltic apprentice. This is a free, confidential helpline for independent support and guidance. You can find details of this on your course handbook, on SMART Assessor, or from your Coach.

Alternatively, here are some additional sources of help and support:

  • Mind: providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.
  • Young Minds: Mental health support specifically for young people.
  • Samaritans: whatever you’re going through, you can call Samaritans any time for free. Support is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 116 123 or contact them online.
  • Your GP or local mental health service may also offer access to counselling, medication, or other mental health resources.