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Looking after your apprentice's mental health

The term “mental health” is often used in reference to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. However, it’s about much more than that. All employers and host trainers want to get the best out of their apprentices. To work to the best of their abilities, an apprentice needs to be at their best, in body and mind.

Mental health isn’t fixed or static. In Australia, one in four young people experience poor mental health wellbeing in any 12 month period. There’s still a lot of stigma around mental health so we don’t talk about it anywhere near as much as we should. But chances are, you or someone close to you has experienced periods of mental health problems.

Many young people don’t realise they are experiencing symptoms of mental ill-health or are not aware that there is something wrong. They are also afraid to openly share what they are experiencing. As an industry we must take on the stereotypes and challenge preconceptions. It is all about creating a positive, open environment – which can start meaningful conversations regarding mental health, foster support and eradicate stigmas.  Addressing the subject, what it stands for and how it can affect people, will eventually enable people to talk freely about it. This is vital in terms of encouraging people of all ages to seek support when they need it most.

If you have an apprentice in your business, you influence the culture and tone of the workspace. This can provide a unique opportunity to influence young hearts and minds. You can be a great resource for young workers.

Furthermore, by promoting open communication and showing your apprentice you value them and the work they do, you will boost their confidence. This contributes to looking after their mental welfare. It also ensures apprentices are happy to come to work and enjoy the time they spend there, an important factor in them performing at their best so you can make the most of their talent.

Apprentices/trainees who are healthy and happy in the workplace are primed to learn and will retain more information. Just like physical illness, mental illness can have a significant impact on employee safety. We understand that balancing work and life can be challenging, and that sometimes you and your workers may need some additional support.

To help you manage this growing issue in the workplace, HIA and the HIA Charitable Foundation have teamed up with Beyond Blue to provide resources to help people to manage their mental health in the building industry. HIA understands the stigma surrounding mental health and is offering members the best tools to tackle this issue head on. Visit Beyond Blue.

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