Mental health and industry placements

Why is this an important consideration?

Common mental health conditions like anxiety and depression are the biggest reason why people are absent from work.

The Mental Health of Children and Young People in England report, published by NHS England, found that 23.3% of 17 to 19-year-olds had a probable mental disorder in 2023. Research by the London School of Economics suggests that mental ill health costs the UK economy £117.9 billion a year, most of which (72%) is due to the lost productivity of people living with mental health conditions and the costs incurred by unpaid informal carers (The Economic Case for Investing in the Prevention of Mental Health Conditions in the UK).

So, being aware of mental health and knowing how to help is good for your people and makes business sense.

What can you do to promote positive mental health?

You may already have policies for mental health and ways of helping employees with mental health conditions.

You might wish to use the resources provided by the Mental Health at Work project, which includes support and training for staff in small and medium-sized businesses.

Support from the provider

The student’s school or college has the main responsibility for helping students who experience mental health conditions. Most schools or colleges have specialist student mental health services to do this.

Mental health support is part of the school or college's safeguarding duty. If a student on industry placement tells you about a mental health condition, or you see signs that give you cause for concern, contact the school or college straight away.

What to do when a placement is under way

Coming on an industry placement could be challenging for some students.

It may be their first time at work, they may be much younger than other people in the organisation, they have to balance their work with studying and other commitments such as caring responsibilities.

The most important things you can do to help are:

  • give the student space and support to find their feet in the first place
  • be sensitive to signs of nerves and anxiety
  • do something about it straight away - there are many ideas about how to support young people from these organisations:

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