Apprentice Mark gets the mental health support he needs
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Since the age of 14, Mark Woolman has struggled to cope with anxiety and depression, leading him to avoid social situations and isolate himself from people.
Mark, who is now 23 years old and lives with his mum in Leicester, is taking steps forward on a Customer Service Advisor apprenticeship. He’s also managing his mental health with help from the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service for Apprentices.
Mark said: “I started to feel quite depressed while at school. I withdrew from my friends and avoided social situations because of my anxiety, and felt very frustrated as a result. I went through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for social anxiety but when that finished I felt like I still needed some support. That’s when my manager suggested the service.”
The Access to Work Mental Health Support Service for Apprentices is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and delivered by Remploy. It provides work focused mental health support that is tailored to an individual's needs, helping with coping strategies to enable each person to remain on their apprenticeship.
Mark said: “I was very anxious at first but my Vocational Rehabilitation Coach Kiran has been very supportive. We worked together to decide what I needed to do to manage my depression and anxiety going forward. This included keeping a mood diary which I have been doing and establishing methods of coping when I feel overwhelmed. ”
Mark, who is completing his apprenticeship with the Employer Services team at Remploy added: “There’s no reason people shouldn’t be given opportunities, I’m capable of working and the only reason I would have struggled is because I find job applications and interviews really difficult. Having a mental health condition doesn’t mean you can’t be a really good employee. I appreciate working in an environment where people understand that and encourage me to progress; I hope I can repay their faith in me.”
Deborah Lane, Mark’s manager, said: “Having an apprentice is a great opportunity to bring in new talent and ideas but it can also be a daunting time for individuals entering a business. It’s essential therefore that support is available, particularly around mental health which we know can affect one in four in the workplace. Taking time to understand Mark’s mental health challenges has proved invaluable and helped him to feel comfortable accessing support. Through a personalised support plan provided by his coach, Mark is building his confidence and personal resilience and is flourishing in his role, confident that he can continue to access mental health support should he need to.”