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.
Research reports that mental ill health is responsible for 72 million working days lost and costs £34.9 billion each year (Centre for Mental Health 2017). And the NHS says that mental health problems are as common among students as they are in the general population, with 17% of 17 to 19 year olds experiencing a mental disorder (Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, NHS 2017).
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 sign up as a ‘mindful employer’ or use the resources provided by Mental Health at Work, a project run by mental health charity Mind and funded by The Royal Foundation as part of their ‘Heads Together’ campaign.
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: