Men’s Mental Health Month

Men’s Mental Health Month

In November, The Mental Health Foundation are focusing on men’s mental health – a campaign for anyone who identifies as male or a man and whose mental health may be impacted by pressures associated with this.

Around one in eight men in England has a common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, this only tells us about mental health problems that have been reported – it’s hard to know if the figures really tell us what’s happening, especially when it comes to men’s mental health.

Other signs that might give a better picture of the state of men’s mental health:

  • Three times as many men as women die by suicide.
  • Men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK.
  • Men report lower levels of life satisfaction than women according to the Government’s national wellbeing survey.
  • Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women: only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men.

Men are also far more likely than women to go missing, sleep rough, become dependent on alcohol and use drugs frequently.

We know that gender stereotypes about women – ideas about how they should behave or look, for example – can be damaging.  It’s also important to consider how men can be damaged by stereotypes too. Society’s expectations and traditional gender roles can make it harder for men to reach out for help and open up.

Activities for Men’s Mental Health Month

4 Mindfulness sessions will be taking place this month, 2 of which are men’s sessions and 2 are mixed. These sessions introduce short practices that can help with stress, anxiety and depression. These techniques can also help us to find more fulfilment in everyday life. You do not have to have your video on, so there is no need to feel self-conscious – you can just listen to the techniques and practice them.   Book via the learning pool here.

There are things you can do to promote Men’s Mental Health Month. This could involve raising awareness of the Mental Health First Aiders, and/or following some of the tips below such as creating a motivational playlist as a team.  If you are going to promote Men’s Mental Health Month within your teams, please let me know what you have planned and how it went.

Please circulate the tips below to your male colleagues:

Tips for men – how to pick yourself up when things get tough:

  • Reach out – chat to a friend or Mental Health First Aider when you start to hide yourself away
  • Have a chat with someone who will listen and not ‘fix’ – a friend, colleague, family or call the Employee Assistance Programme helpline
  • Follow social media accounts that you can relate to
  • Keep up with your routine – or add new structure to your day
  • Get outside for a short walk
  • Read a motivational or inspirational quote – to get perspective
  • Do something new like volunteering
  • Take up a new hobby
  • Get out of your comfort zone – feel a sense of achievement from this
  • Focus on breathing – breathe in and out slowly for 3 minutes
  • Switch off – in a way that works for you, with a book, film, video game etc.
  • Ask a friend how they are – doing something for a friend can make you feel better
  • Make a motivational playlist

Stop and pause – take time to check in with your head by writing or using mindfulness.

Matrix accreditation

The matrix Standard is the international quality standard for organisations that deliver information, advice and/or guidance (IAG), either as their sole purpose or as part of their service offering.

An extract sums up nicely the positivity of the report:

‘Staff interviewed outlined the importance of providing good quality impartial IAG and support to residents to “make them aware of their options” and “provide appropriate choices and pathways to improve their prospects”. Their passion for achieving the best outcomes for residents was clearly evident. There is a sense of pride and satisfaction in helping to make a difference to the residents through helping them to “make positive choices” and supporting them “to succeed in work and life”. This was further demonstrated in comments from residents interviewed.’

Roger Chapman, Head of the matrix Service for The Growth Company said:

“This is a fantastic achievement for North Tyneside Council Employment & Skills Service and I would like to congratulate the team on their success. We believe that at the heart of high-quality advice and support services are strong leadership, excellent service and a focus on continuous improvement, all underpinned by effective use of the resources available.  The matrix Standard is designed to benchmark organisations against best practice in these areas. With their accreditation success, The Service is working to provide the best possible support to their clients.”

In this one hour E-Safety session we will provide hints, tips and best practices for staying safe online. This will include:

  • Understanding Terminology
  • How to spot a scam/phishing email
  • Device Security
  • What are pop ups
  • Multi-Factor authentication
  • Security Tips
  • Filtering options
  • Useful Links

All staff are encouraged to come along to one of the sessions if possible.

Session dates are as follows:

Monday 1st November 10-11am

Wednesday 3rd November 4-5pm

Friday 5th November 1-2pm


National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week 2022 will take place from 7 to 13 February 2022.

The annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships, which takes place across England, will showcase how apprenticeships have helped employers of all sizes and sectors, and people of all ages and backgrounds. The various events provide an excellent opportunity to celebrate apprenticeships and bring the whole apprenticeship community together.

The Week will shine a light on the positive differences that apprenticeships can make to individuals, employers and to the wider economy.

Here in North Tyneside, we host the largest Apprenticeship event in the region where a wide range of employers and training providers come together to meet with young people looking to find out more about the apprenticeship system. We are planning to arrange a 2022 “Get up and Go” for Saturday 12th February – look out for details later in the year.

Apprentice Appreciation Week

North Tyneside Councils Employment and Skills Service are very proud of our brilliant apprentices and the difference they make to our work place and communities.

We appreciate the hard work that goes into the planning, administrating and delivery of the programme by a team of dedicated, qualified and enthusiastic staff. Apprentices are vital to our future – helping to shape our workforce so that we can deliver our ambitious plans.

To show our thanks we have pulled together a web page to shine a spotlight on the apprenticeship programme both generally and also from a North Tyneside Council perspective

Whether you are an employer looking for information on how to access the scheme or someone just interested in finding out more about apprenticeships the site ,which can be accessed below, gives you the details you need.

Apprentice Appreciation Week!


World Mental Health Day

North Tyneside’s Employment & Skills service are supporting World Mental Health Day, 10th October. This year’s theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’. On World Mental Health Day it will have been more than 18 months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In all countries, the pandemic has had a major impact on people’s mental health. Some groups, including health and other frontline workers, students, people living alone, and those with pre-existing mental health conditions, have been particularly affected

As a service we are offering a new suite of mental health and wellbeing training designed to support those working in local communities to promote and support wellbeing. Building awareness of positive mental health, challenges, or conditions which may affect wellbeing and strategies to support those impacted.

Employment and Skills Promoting Mental Wellbeing Suite

For further information and resources around World Mental Health Day visit:

Monday Morning Beach Clean

Monday Morning Beach Clean

Today was our first planned activity of the new academic year where we got together with a group of amazingly motivated young apprentices from all different programmes; and staff from NTC’s Adult Learning Service to take part in a beach clean on one of our beautiful beaches in North Tyneside, Tynemouth. It was a warm September day and there was a very low tide waiting for us when we arrived as we prepared ourselves with bags and litter pickers very generously given by NTC Environmental Services team. We started out on the gorgeous golden sands with the sun high in the sky but found that rubbish was strangely elusive, but what we did gather was carefully deposited into our rubbish bags ready for Sean from NTC Cleansing Services to collect and take away. What was abundantly clear was the time spent on the beach was time put to good use, not only in contribution to being good citizens or becoming more environmentally aware of the consequences of rubbish pollution but in making new friends, talking about experiences and laughing at how difficult it is to walk over bumpy, slippy sand! Today wasn’t just about contributing and giving back to our community and environment it was about getting together in a beautiful environment to ward off the Monday morning blues and feeding our souls.

If you would like to find out more about our Apprenticeship Programmes, please contact

Success Stories

Adult Learning Service success stories

In this difficult year it’s great to have something positive to celebrate. The Adult Learning Service (ALS) support numerous learners. The continuing enthusiasm, commitment, and flexibility of the ALS team and particularly tutors Nicole Race and Joanne Walker have been a huge asset in these challenging times. As well as supporting our residents into apprenticeship many existing Council team members are up-skilling through this route.

Particular ‘shout out’ to:

  • Shellie, whose passion and dedication shines through. She has just completed (ahead of schedule and to a very high standard) her Level 4 Business Administration qualification.
  • Kerry, Associate Project Management Level 4. Kerry has had a very challenging year, especially over the last few months with the pandemic creating an ever-changing landscape in the services that she manages. Despite this Kerry produces work of an excellent quality and demonstrates high levels of enthusiasm and dedication to her studies.
  • Shay – Shay formerly won the ALS Apprentice of the Year award for his administrative work in a hospital during covid, and he has now passed his apprenticeship and the project he led will be beneficial to patients.
  • Faye & Lisa – Both have administrative roles in Adult Social Care. Their excellent communication and digital skills have supported the remote delivery of essential services.
  • The 1st cohort of Level 4 Diploma in Project Management learners. Most of this group faced changes to their job roles and work environment and had to review their projects to meet these. All have now successfully completed and the quality of their portfolios and strength of their skills and knowledge, have been fundamental in helping ALS obtain Direct Claims Status for this qualification.

Both the tutors and all these learners embody the values of “We Listen. We Care. We are ambitious. We are good value for money”. They, have all worked hard and quickly adapted to change, carrying out administrative work, using up to date skills, which have helped businesses to deliver on their priorities and keep vital services going.

All should be very proud of themselves. Well done!

World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day takes place every year on September 10th to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention. The theme this year is ‘Creating Hope through Action’ – a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide. Over 6,000 people die by suicide in the UK each year and men remain three times more likely to take their own lives than women.
Most people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have. This year we encourage all our colleagues to help raise awareness of how to help
prevent suicide, reduce the stigma and get the confidence to reach out. The Zero suicide alliance has short one line training that we’d encourage everyone to complete

• The Gateway session provides a very brief introduction to suicide awareness and only takes 5-10 minutes.

• The ZSA Suicide Awareness Training is a more in depth suicide awareness training session which takes around 20 minutes.

Evidence shows asking someone if they’re suicidal can protect them, starting a conversation could help save a life!

Gillian Halpin who is one of our Mental Health First Aiders explains below how important talking and listening is.

“I’ve been a Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) for almost 3 years and a big part of that is supporting colleagues by simply talking and listening. MHFAs have comprehensive training around offering initial support and signposting for people experiencing emotional distress or mental health – and the description of MHFA includes some impressive-sounding words like ‘being a point of contact’, ‘interaction’ and ‘early intervention’.

As a massive part of the MHFA role is non-judgemental listening, in everyday language we’re often simply having a conversation, or even a chat. So MHFAs have training – but anyone can (and often do, without even thinking about it) make a difference and support someone with their mental health and wellbeing simply by having a chat or even ‘small talk’, knowing that:

• our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling

• small talk can save lives and create a sense of connection and hope in somebody who may be struggling

• compassion and kindness in being there to listen can help colleagues in need feel more comfortable in coming forward to seek help

On World Suicide Prevention Day, and every day, we can reach out and let others know they’re not alone.”

Gillian Halpin
Learning Mentor – Employment & Skills

Where to go for further support:

• Our Mental Health First Aiders are here to listen and signpost to any further support for any employee that is going through a difficult time. A list of Mental Health First Aiders and contact details can be found here.

• Call the free Samaritans number, 116 123, at any time, 365 days a year.

September Safeguarding Update

September Safeguarding update.

Safeguarding Team

Please contact any of the team if you have a concern:

Belinda Payne

Val Rooney

Helen Samuel

And Lou Ross who is covering for Gemma Welsh

Run, Hide, Tell

As mentioned during our briefing can you please ensure you and your learners watch the following YouTube video Run, Hide, Tell to ensure all are prepared in the event of  a lockdown or an evacuation situation. This will help prepare all with the basic principles of Run, Hide, Tell to ensure you take necessary precautions, please ensure this is part of your induction process for new learners. Our policy will be available soon with suitable training and support.

Safeguarding Training Refresher

We need to ensure all staff are updated on their safeguarding training and ask everyone to undergo the following online training to ensure they are up to date. Can I ask you all to complete this by Friday 29 October 2021. Once this is completed can you please alert Andrea Chubb who will add you to the record of mandatory training. This safeguarding refresher needs to be updated every 2 years so you will be alerted when it runs out.


As I mentioned in the briefing there is increasing concern about this group of young men who meet in chat rooms on the internet. They define themselves as being unable to form or access relationships with women. They believe this is a result of genetic factors, evolutionarily determined traits in women and inequitable social structures. The booklet attached is a fascinating read developed following research into these groups. It incorporates a glossary of terms which is a whole new language and highlights a secretive but troubling group that can be instigators of loan actor violence in communities as outlined in the document.

World Suicide Prevention Day

Some of you may know already that it is World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th Gillian Halpin has requested the following and attached presentation be sent out to all staff to support awareness of suicide prevention. Please also note that Suicide Prevention and Self Harm tins are available in all of our centres from Thursday usually in the kitchen area.

World Suicide Prevention Day takes place every year on September 10th to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention.  The theme of this years’ day is

Creating Hope through Action’ – a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide. The day aims to inspire confidence in all of us; that our actions, no matter how big or small, can provide hope to those who are struggling. Through action, you can make a difference to someone in their darkest moments.

The factors and causes that lead to suicide are complex; no single approach works for everyone. There are certain factors and life events that may make someone more vulnerable to suicide and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression can also contribute.  People who are suicidal may feel trapped or like a burden to those around them and feel like they are alone and have no other options. By creating hope through action, we can signal to people experiencing suicidal thoughts that there is hope and that we care and want to support them.

  • Please see attached PowerPoint showing the contents of a suicide prevention tin The tins contain a range of resources that help people to better understand and manage their wellbeing, and support other people they are concerned about

Events include:

  • Emotional Resilience training: 7th, 8th 9th and 10th September
  • Self-Harm Awareness and Response training: 7th, 8th and 10th September
  • Creating Hope through Action virtual event: 10th September
  • Buddy catch ups, virtual coffee breaks, wellbeing walks: scheduling in a short break to have a non-work related conversation can make a huge positive difference to how colleagues (and ourselves) are  feeling

Other resources to support World Suicide Prevention Day:

  • The Zero Suicide Alliance  offers short and effective online training.  Three levels of training are offered:
  • The ‘Step up’ module gives a brief introduction to social isolation, and how to help someone who may be isolated. In 5-10 minutes this module covers adjusting to the new normal following the Coronavirus,  taking into account the significant changes in how many of us live and work.
  • The Gateway session provides a very brief introduction to suicide awareness. In just 5-10 minutes, you could learn skills to help someone considering suicide.  This module gives tips on how to approach someone if you are worried they may considering taking their own life.
  • The ZSA Suicide Awareness Training is a more in depth suicide awareness training session which takes around 20 minutes.  The session focuses on removing stigma and encouraging open conversations and aims to give you the skills and confidence to help someone who may be considering suicide.
  • If U care share support people who are feeling very low or suicidal, and people that have lost someone to suicide.

Other signposting information on mental health and wellbeing

Employee Assistance Programme – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week confidential advice and support at Employee Assistance Programme   Or call 0800 231 5052

Learning Pool resources  Managing your health and wellbeing during and beyond COVID-19   –

Local Government Association and NHS Englanduseful advice, tools and tips on managing emotions, stress and wellbeing for those staff providing care

Living Life to the Full – online resource for managing low mood, stress and anxiety and other advice. Go to and enter code ‘NHSStaff’ for free access

NHS – for general mental health information and specific ‘mental health while staying at home’ and ‘worried about coronavirus’ sections:

MIND – For more practical advice for staying at home and managing your mental health:

Resource Tins

As always please contact us if you have any concerns.


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