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Derby College Group Students Take Control of Mental #Wellbeing
October 18, 2019
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Derby College Group (DCG) has launched a special toolkit to help students recognise triggers to mental health issues and better manage their own well-being.

The SEEDS programme is available on the college’s intranet and stands for the key ingredients to mental wellbeing: sleep, exercise, eat healthy, discuss and self-help. It offers practical advice on these key aspects and students to the support available both at College and externally.

Activities for students at Broomfield Hall college included petting sessions with some of the resident small animals and creatures at the Animal Care centre, craft activities and fitness challenges.

Helen Jefferson is DCG director of services for students and designated senior lead for mental health.  She explained:

“We have wide-ranging support in place for students but were keen to offer practical advice so that they can better recognise the triggers and understand the link between a healthy lifestyle and mental well-being.

“SEEDS has been specially developed within the college and we look forward to the feedback from students as they make use of the toolkit in the coming weeks and months.”

Meanwhile staff and Business students from the Roundhouse college supported East Midlands Railway’s R U OK campaign at Derby Station – encouraging passengers to speak up about stress and anxiety.

Students gave out leaflets and manned an Act of Kindness wall where people posted positive comments.

mental wellbeing 1

Timmy the Tenvec was amongst the animals available for a cuddle by students at Broomfield Hall college on World Mental Health Day

Millions in Local Investment to Support Children and Young People’s Mental Health

£3.3 million is being spent to expand 23 local projects to help prevent mental illness in children and young people.

Thousands of young people across England will benefit from new mental health support including counselling, mentoring and arts programmes in their communities. This will be backed by a multi-million pound government investment this year.

School children walking

As part of the government’s commitment to transforming mental health care – backed by an extra £2.3 billion a year through the NHS Long Term Plan – Mental Health Minister Nadine Dorries and Public Health Minister Jo Churchill today announce an investment of a further £3.3 million in 23 local community projects across England.

Earlier this year the government pledged to overhaul society’s approach to mental illness through better access to education, training and support across communities. This included a commitment to train all teachers to spot the signs of mental illness in children, making sure they can intervene before issues escalate.

The funding will allow more children and young people aged 25 and under to access local services to support their mental health, with early intervention for those at risk of mental health problems. The projects have an emphasis on improving access to support outside of NHS services, including for groups such as LGBT young people or those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

Projects receiving funding include:

  • LifeLine Community Projects in Barking and Dagenham will receive over £298,000 to expand their work with young people most at risk of poor mental health, with preventative support to stop problems escalating and reduce pressure on NHS services
  • York Mind will receive £50,000 to expand their Arts Award programme, which connects young people to the arts, enabling them to increase their skills, confidence, sense of identity and reduce isolation, alongside one-to-one support
  • The Proud Trust’s Peer Support Project in Manchester will receive over £23,000 to support more LGBT young people through life-changing events, including discovering their sexuality/gender and coming out

See a full list of all projects receiving funding (PDF)

The funding will come from the Health and Wellbeing Fund, part of a programme of government investment in the voluntary sector. The projects will be fully funded through the scheme in their first year and additional joint funding from local commissioners will be agreed for 2 years afterwards.

Mental health services are being transformed through the NHS Long Term Plan so that 345,000 more children and young people have access to mental health support by 2024, including via mental health support teams in and around schools. This will significantly improve early intervention and prevention.

This funding boost follows last summer’s funding increase to the NHS budget, which will see the health service receive an extra £33.9 billion more every year by 2024 to support the NHS Long Term Plan.

Minister for Mental Health Nadine Dorries said:

“We know children and young people today face many pressures at home and in their social and academic lives but giving them easily accessible mental health support at an early age can help them thrive later in life.

“That’s why the government is investing billions every year to transform mental health care, and giving more money to innovative, community-led projects run by people who have chosen to dedicate their lives to supporting young people by providing them with the tools and means they need to manage their own mental health.”

Minister for Public Health Jo Churchill said:

“It’s only right that children and young people are able to access mental health support, not only through the NHS, but in the heart of their communities, schools and homes where they spend the majority of their time.

“The voluntary sector has a hugely important role to play in delivering these kinds of services and our Health and Wellbeing Fund is leading the way in ensuring government plays a role in cultivating the most effective, innovative and successful forms of community support – backed by an extra £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24 to improve NHS mental health services too.”

Kathy Roberts, CEO – Association of Mental Health Providers, said:

“The NHS Long Term Plan made a number of promises for mental health in the next 10 years, including the much-needed scaling up and improvement of support for children and young people.

“The voluntary sector has a key role in transforming mental health care and offers a range support for children and young people. The sector is innovative, has reach into communities, and there is huge potential to expand and scale up its offer. Association of Mental Health Providers therefore welcomes the Health and Wellbeing Fund’s focus on this important area and the funding of 23 exceptional voluntary and community sector projects.”

Mental Health First Aid England Newsletter
August 5, 2019
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The August 2019 edition of the Mental Health First Aid England newsletter is available.

Take a read for the latest mental health campaign news, including their first social impact report celebrating our whole community’s hard work and passion for improving the nation’s mental health and updates about new MHFA England digital badges.

Read your August newsletter here

To Tackle Our Mental Health Crisis, Career Guidance Could be Surprisingly Important

Being unemployed tends to be bad for your mental health.

We know this from long-term studies which show that people’s mental health often deteriorates when they become unemployed and can improve when they get a new job. It can be a vicious circle, since people with mental health difficulties can also struggle to get hired.

When you don’t have a job, it tends to reduce your access to things that nourish mental well-being: a sense of identity, a sense of purpose, structure to the day, contact with other people and opportunities to use skills. Not to mention money, which is a big source of anxiety if you don’t have a decent supply coming in.

Young people are particularly at risk here, since they tend to be among the hardest hit when the labour market takes a dive. Indeed, it’s hard enough for them to find work when the employment market is buoyant. And this group have more than their fair share of other threats to their mental well-being. They have to deal with the worst of social media, early heartbreaks and combustible friendships. Many will be experimenting with drink and drugs, getting into conflicts with their parents and struggling to have enough money to stand on their own two feet.

In the UK, for example, around one in six people aged 17-19 have some kind of mental health condition, and the incidence among young people more generally has been steadily climbing. In the US, the suicide rate among 18- to 19-year-olds is up 56% in a decade.

Living with the scars

While many big categories of illness, such as cancers or heart problems, tend to present in mid to late adulthood, mental health conditions often appear when people are teenagers or in their early 20s. In many cases, they recur, and the consequences can multiply over someone’s lifetime.

Though most young people experience only passing phases of unemployment, for those who experience longer periods, there is emerging evidence that it can lead to what has been described as “scarring”. They are more likely to struggle to hold down jobs throughout their lives, for instance, and to earn less. There is also recent evidence from Sweden and the US of health effects well into mid-adulthood. From a broader perspective, this is a serious problem for the economy. It means lost productivity, lower tax revenues, and higher sickness-related benefits and medical/social care costs.

If this makes it obvious that we should do whatever we can to minimise youth unemployment, it’s easier said than done. This is a complicated problem that doesn’t lend itself to quick fixes. Yet one area that deserves much more attention is career guidance. People can sometimes be sceptical about its value, based on vague recollections of adolescent conversations with a career adviser that didn’t seem to make much difference to them.

Yet we mustn’t let this blind us to the potential. Like any kind of one-to-one help, career guidance provides a safe space to share worries and concerns. It helps people to review and recognise their strengths, injects hope by giving them a sense of their possible study and work options, and motivates and equips them to take action. Career guidance can help you figure out who you are, what your goals are, and how to get there – and this kind of clarity can act as a buffer against stress and uncertainty.

Above all, career guidance can prevent unemployment. It enables people to access life opportunities in work and education, and opens up all the benefits of participation. Some government initiatives put pressure on unemployed people to take the first available job, irrespective of its quality or relevance to their lives. But career guidance is about long-term planning based on what motivates an individual. Done well, it sets people on a path that can sustain them in the long term.

Room for improvement

The quality of career guidance varies considerably from country to country. Yet a recent OECD study found common problems around the world, including insufficient resources, inadequately prepared staff, and poorer services for students from disadvantaged areas. The study pointed to a number of problems in England, with students demanding “more and better” advice, while concluding that the service in Scotland was “well developed and comprehensive”.

Across the board, there’s much room for improvement. We need to recognise the role that career guidance can play as a public health intervention. It can potentially reach all young people through the school system, and has good access to the most vulnerable groups. It might help build resilience if combined with teaching young people important life skills, such as career management and stress management.

Career guidance may feel far removed from health, but we need to understand that illness has socioeconomic causes, and at least to some extent, socioeconomic remedies. I find that professionals in this field are slowly waking up to the mental health needs of their client base, but this has yet to filter through to many of those in charge of policy. They need to get the message that properly resourced and consistently delivered career services have the power to improve our mental health – both now and for years into the future.

Guide to Spotting the Stresses of Climbing the Career Ladder
May 30, 2019
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Landing a promotion, getting your first full-time job or returning to work after having a baby are all meant to be exciting milestonesgrayscale photography of hands under body of water in a person’s life. However, expectations of these events may leave employees feeling underwhelmed when they occur.

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19th May), Bupa Health Clinics1 has released a new report which reveals Britons admit to feeling upset or down after comparing their experience of a milestone to someone else’s on social media. Eighty-five per cent of people said they felt this way when returning to work after having a baby; 70% said it happened when starting their first job and 64% said they felt low after getting a promotion and seeing someone celebrate the same occasion on social media. 

Bupa Health Clinics’ Medical Director, Dr Arun Thiyagarajan, says:

“This new research shows how important it is for business leaders to be aware of their employees’ highs, as well as lows. It is important for leaders to be aware of external pressure that employees can bring into work and not just recognising pressures of things at work. 

“It’s easy to assume that someone getting a promotion or returning to work after having a baby has good mental wellbeing, but that isn’t always the case.”

Read more

Mental Health Awareness Week: 13 – 19 May 2019

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 will take place from Monday 13 to Sunday 19 May 2019. The theme for 2019 is Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodiesMental Health Awareness Week, body image banner

Body image issues can affect all of us at any age. During the week we will be publishing new research, considering some of the reasons why our body image can impact the way that we feel, campaigning for change and publishing practical tools.

Since our first Mental Health Awareness Week in 2001, we’ve raised awareness of topics like stress, relationships, loneliness, altruism, sleep, alcohol and friendship. This year, with your support, we want to reach more people than ever!

Find out more HERE

Presentations for Career Professionals Interested in Mental Health
March 22, 2019
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Mental health has become a crucial consideration for career development professionals, whether examining how it relates to their clients’ career development or their own well-being. Following are links to the slides from several presentations at CERIC’s 2019 Cannexus conference that examined the topic from various angles.

CERIC

CERIC is a charitable organization that advances education and research in career counselling and career development, in order to increase the economic and social well-being of Canadians.

Linking Improved Career Development & Mental Health Together – Clarence DeSchiffart

In reviewing mental health and career development concepts, it appears the principles are striving for the same outcome – helping someone to a better and happier life. This session offered a detailed examination and comparison of specific core mental health and career development principles. Read more

Mental Health Resources for Employers
February 26, 2019
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If you have staff who need support with their mental health, the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service delivered by Remploy, funded by the Department of Pensions, provides confidential mental health support in the workplace, at no cost to you.

To help you get the most out of the programme they have developed a simple toolkit with links to a variety of useful and valuable resources.

Download Your Copy HERE

A Canadian ViewPoint: Supporting Clients with Mental Health Challenges
October 19, 2018
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Career development practitioners should take a holistic approach, supporting their clients’ mental health while helping them navigate career planning By Derrick McEachern

Career planning is a mental-health intervention and a well-being practice. What people do each day shapes who they are and how they feel about their daily lives

People who are disengaged from their work, unemployed, undergoing a work transition or ambivalent about their career path may struggle to varying degrees with stress, uncertainty, low self-worth, anxiety and, in many cases, depression. However, government programs traditionally focus solely on employment: helping people find work using their current skills or retraining them in specifically targeted fields with a high probability of employment.

Well-being and mental-health research (Walsh, 2011) suggest a more holistic approach is necessary. There is a need for more comprehensive services that account for employees’ lifestyle factors and support employee engagement and retention while also addressing mental-health problems.

Well-being and mental health

In their book Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, Tom Rath and Jim Harter document research conducted across 155 countries that suggests five interconnected elements are predictive of overall well-being. Read more

Overcoming Barriers to Returning to Work after a Mental-Health Leave
October 18, 2018
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How clients can learn to recognize stressors and develop strategies to better manage them during career change By Mary Ann Baynton

Any transition in life can be stressful. Career transition in particular often happens at the same time as other life stressors, including personal, family, health or financial concerns. Recognizing our current reactions to stress and choosing healthier, more effective responses is what building resilience is all abou

Resilience is the capacity to adapt or recover from stressful situations, including a transition into the workforce or from one job to another. Building resilience doesn’t mean you’ll avoid stress. What it means is that you’ll be able to cope better and recover from stress more effectively.

Research has helped us understand practical strategies to build resilience.

Identifying our stress responses

For most of us, stress is a daily occurrence and our responses to it are automatic. This means we don’t choose or plan them. With that in mind, if we can identify some of our immediate responses to stress, we’re more likely to recognize and address them before they create a major life or health concern.

Some automatic responses can be physical in nature – cold sores, hives, and sweating or stomach problems. Some may be behavioural responses such as reaching for a substance, sleep pattern changes, clumsiness, forgetfulness, impatience, overscheduling or overworking. Emotional responses may also be present and could include irritability, anger, frustration or emotional outbursts. Read more