It would be impossible to list all the ways that 2020 has impacted us, but what is fair to say is that each and every individual on our planet has been affected in some way by the Covid pandemic.
Whether in terms of health, employment, finances, loss of loved ones, loneliness, anxiety or mental health issues, we have all been touched. Things remain tough for everyone and it is anticipated that the pandemic will have far reaching affects well into 2021.
Lockdowns, restrictions, and completely new ways of living and working, alongside the inability to meet with or call in on loved ones we do not live with, are massively impacting our mental health.
According to MIND, more than two thirds (68%) of young people in the UK felt that their mental health got worse during the UK’s first lockdown. MIND state that we are facing our ‘greatest test of mental health’ because of restrictions and the pandemic, and document record demand for their services since March.
This International Men’s Day we partnered with CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) who work tirelessly to put the spotlight on male mental health and support people with mental health issues. With 75% of all suicides in the UK male and “an estimated half a million more people likely to experience mental health problems as a result of the pandemic” it is absolutely vital to ensure that support is available and awareness is raised.
CALM have already exceeded their year-on-year call figures – as early as beginning of November – and note that calls are revolving around topics such as isolation, anxiety, relationship concerns, suicidal thoughts, health worries, and financial stress.
CALM’s work is supporting more people than ever during these challenging times and we are honoured to partner with them.
According to The Mental Health Foundation, societal expectation plays a huge role in mental health. How men ‘should’ behave, what ‘masculinity’ is and a need to be ‘in control’ has a massive impact on mental health. When we add the fact that the pandemic has taken away much of our usual control with new and ever-changing restrictions, it is important to recognise the impact this will be having.
Our resource for International Men’s Day highlights 25 amazing male apprentices, many in less traditionally male roles, as they share what they do, why they do it and outline some of their proudest achievements to date. The resource also highlights their equally amazing employers who have given them the opportunity to follow their career path and support them every step of the way to achieve their ambitions.
Thank you to Cambridge Assessment, Hovis, EasyJet, Norse Group, Coca Cola, Durham & Darlington Fire and Rescue, BT, Toni&Guy, MoD, Sky News, Dogs Trust, GSK, BBC, NHS, Specsavers, Murphy, RLB, AstraZenica, Bentley, IBM, Coop, Vets4Pets, Amazon, Youth Employment, Africa Live for your support of these young people, encouragement of them and belief in their future.
As employers and training providers, now, more than ever, we need to create a working environment that encourages our apprentices to share where they are at with mental health and acknowledge that mental health is not a flat line, it is an ever fluctuating curve. As CALM says, we need to ‘flatten the curve’ and that starts by being aware of it, talking about mental health, sharing information, resources and showing clear support.
In light of this, our next free workshop, on 14th December welcomes George Anderson of Generation Healthy Minds, who lead our masterclasses over the summer aimed at helping employers to support their apprentices to adapt to working from home and staying well both physically and mentally during lockdown. This time the focus will be on discussing the importance of equality, the significance of acknowledging and supporting mental health and will explore strategies that employers and training providers could look to implement in the coming months to help try and flatten the curve.
CALM have excellent resources on their site for people to reach out and get help for themselves, loved ones or colleagues. They also have a number of opportunities on how to get involved and make a difference.