As Mental Health Awareness Month 2022 draws to a close, we speak to Sarah Coldwell, our Welfare Team manager, about her experience regarding mental health in the industry. Including some tips for what to look out for if you or someone you know is suffering with poor mental health.
How does mental health affect the NHS? Is it a stretch of resources?
The NHS is suffering significantly from increasing need and reduced funding and human resource to support the growing need for mental health support, especially following the psychological and emotional distress experienced; a ramification of covid. People are waiting weeks/months for mental health support referrals. The NHS is under increasing pressure. Additionally, there’s a significant backlog of referrals following COVID-19. Positively, the government has injected funding into mental health services which are hoped to alleviate the pressure on the NHS and increase the employment of health professionals and their retention.
ADHD across the sector – what percentage or cases suffer from ADHD or other mental health illnesses?
There’s an increasing need for ADHD assessments. It often goes undiagnosed. We’re seeing it becoming more prevalent. Across the industry and over the last year, 1 in 2 cases we have dealt with has encompassed mental health issues. In addition to that, we’ve found that undiagnosed childhood mental health issues were the number 1 reason that apprentices reached out for help. Previously, this had been years of homeless issues, so that shows a dramatic shift.
Are there any trends that you notice across the sector regarding mental health?
There’s a high incidence of anxiety and addiction. We need to do a lot more work on addiction in our sector. Tragically we have had 4 suicides in the past month. There’s been a noticeable difference in trends and links to poor mental health. The amount of alcohol consumed over the last year increased in almost all cases. From an average of 8 units a week to 11 units a week. There was also a huge increase of 217% in addiction cases with powdered cocaine in the industry. Raising awareness of what triggers poor mental health and anxiety, is a really important factor in getting the right treatment.
What are the signs to recognise that you’re struggling with your mental health?
It’s important for individuals to be more aware of what is causing them stress, name the stress/stressors and then try and actively reduce or resolve them. It takes self-awareness, patience, and sometimes help from others. We so often say ‘I am feeling stressed’ but don’t spend time with ourselves to understand what’s causing the stress and what we can do to reduce/resolve it.
Some tips to help you recognise your mental health:
What are the signs to recognise that someone else is struggling with their mental health?
For someone struggling with their mental health, you might notice some changes in their mood, behaviour or appearance. If that is the case, it's so important to start an open conversation with the individual. Just checking in with them, and letting them know that you're there for support.
Here are some things to look out for: