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Time to open up about mental health during COVID-19

Posted on 9 October, 2020


By Lindsey Appleby-Flynn, mental health expert for Connect2Care - HIT's sister company

During these tricky and confusing times, it’s never been more important to look after your own mental health, as well as keeping a vigilant eye on your friends and family’s mental health.

Whilst COVID-19 is a physical health crisis at its core, the impact of the pandemic plants the seeds to create a large-scale mental health crisis. Having a positive approach to mental health is critical to getting through these unprecedented and extremely difficult times.

Since its inception, the Coronavirus has continued to have a significant impact all over the world. In the UK, our generation has never experienced such upheaval to our way of life. This may have left you, or someone you know, feeling like the world has been turned upside down.

World Mental Health Awareness Day

The 10th of October 2020 marks World Mental Health Awareness day. The day aims to raise awareness of mental health and empower people to take action which in turn will create lasting change.

In light of the Coronavirus pandemic’s impact across the globe the theme for this year’s World Mental Health Awareness Day is mental health for all: greater investment, greater access.

The Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “The world is accepting the concept of universal health coverage. Mental health must be an integral part of UHC. Nobody should be denied access to mental health care because she or he is poor or lives in a remote place.”

Breaking down the mental health stigma

Studies show that people living with mental health conditions still face a constant battle with social stigma which may deter them from seeking much-needed help.

Discrimination can come in many forms and has a detrimental effect on the person’s ability to lead a full and active life. This prejudice and discrimination leads to feelings of hopelessness and shame in those struggling to cope with their situation, creating a serious barrier to diagnosis and treatment.

You can help break the stigma by:

  • Showing compassion. Not only to people with known mental health disorders, but to everyone - mental health is not skin deep.
  • Encouraging people to talk about their problems and listening. The value of listening to support someone with their mental health is often forgotten.
  • Talk about mental health freely to encourage active speech and understanding.
  • Challenge any rhetoric that actively supports negative views to educate others and develop an understanding of mental health.

Looking after your own mental health

It’s important to remember to take care of your own mental health, even if you don’t believe you have signs and symptoms of a mental health disorder. Taking time to relax and enjoy your hobbies, eating healthily, taking regular exercise, spending quality time with friends and family, sleeping well and minimising your alcohol intake are all good ways of maintaining your wellbeing.

Your mental health and wellbeing is just as important as your physical health. Having a positive outlook on life promotes good mental health and wellbeing, enabling you to concentrate, have meaningful social connections, positive self-esteem and be better equipped to cope with life’s ups and downs.

Equipping yourself or your team for the future

At Connect2Care, we offer First Aid for Mental Health courses to better equip you or your employees to support others in their time of need. As part of these courses, attendees will learn how to support and signpost a colleague, friend or themselves to appropriate help if they’re having difficulties with their mental health.

All our trainers have real-world experience of working in the mental health industry, providing an engaging overview of the topic.

It’s common for people to be nervous about having conversations about mental health for fear of saying the wrong thing or not knowing enough about the condition to help. To support you to navigate these tricky conversations, Connect2Care have put together a signposting sheet to support services for mental health issues to aid anyone who’s worried about having a conversation with a person that has a mental health condition.

Special offer – free First Aid for Mental Health Training!

To promote greater mental health inclusivity as part of World Mental Health Awareness Day, we’re offering every business two FREE places on our Level 1 Award in Awareness for First Aid for Mental Health. This is a saving of over £150!

You’ll become mental health aware with Connect2Care’s half-day interactive online workshop for the Level 1 Award in Awareness for First Aid for Mental Health.
As part of this course, attendees will gain the knowledge to identify suspected mental health conditions and the skills to start a conversation about mental health concerns.

To take advantage of this offer, please email [email protected] with the contact name and email address of your company’s chosen attendees.


It was great speaking to our account manager, Catherine, this afternoon and great to hear that HIT are being so supportive with our apprentices, I found the call very positive in a time of crisis, so thank you.

The Learner’s leaflet is great and being sent out to Apprentices and Line Managers following our communication last week providing a great follow up.

Jonathan Foot - Head of Apprenticeships, Compass Group

McMullen’s chose HIT as its sole external provider for Apprenticeships and vocational qualifications in early 2015 and since then we have found them a pleasure to work with.  Their expertise in this sector is superior and they have proven to be a professional and supportive partner who have a passion for learning and development, which matches our own organisation.

Amanda Walden – Training & Recruitment Manager, McMullen's

Encouraging our staff to improve their skills set and supporting them through apprenticeships and training programmes underlines our commitment to help them further develop their own careers. Offering the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship also gives the Brend Group a point of difference which I’m convinced will help attract new members of staff in the future.

Andrew Mosedale - Group HR Manager, Brend Hotels

Our partnership with HIT has certainly made recruitment much easier in a very difficult labour market and gives us a point of difference in an increasingly competitive environment.  Kew Green has also benefited enormously from well trained, skilled and competent staff who contribute significantly to the ever improving and high levels of customer experience that our guests expect and deserve.

Andrew Tregenza - HR Business Partner, Kew Green Hotels

Apprenticeships allow us to give people a great opportunity to develop a career with us and learn a skill or trade that will accompany them throughout their career and life. We see progression to the Level 4 qualification as key to our strategy of providing development at all stages of an employee’s career with Harrison.

Alex Taylor - Training Manager, Harrison Catering Services

HIT Training has provided such an incredible support to us during lockdown, with regular webinar invitations, videocalls and engagement solutions. Our business focus shifted to learning and development and we managed to enrol 3 times more apprentices on training programmes than before!

Anastasia Talatzidou -L&D Manager, Gaucho


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