M&S pioneers new mental health training to help colleagues support young people

During last month’s Children’s Mental Health Week (5-11th February 2024), M&S launched a new and unique Trusted Adult training to help its 65,000 colleagues learn more about how to support the young people in their lives.

The online voluntary training has been created as part of the retailer’s partnership with leading mental health charity for young people, YoungMinds. Through the training, colleagues will develop skills and understanding to support them in having conversations with young people around how they are feeling and help prevent them from reaching the point of crisis.

The retailer is also launching a YoungMinds colleague network to support the training, build the partnership and ensure colleagues can access peer to peer advice.  The new network sits alongside a wide range of health and wellbeing support already available to M&S colleagues and their families, including access to online GP’s, counselling and financial advice.

M&S x YoungMinds Ambassador, TV presenter and mum of three Rochelle Humes has also shared her tips and advice on how to start a conversation.

Also going live today is a new donation drive in M&S stores for Children’s Mental Health Week (5th to 19th February) where customers can choose to round up their shopping basket total to donate to YoungMinds.

Victoria McKenzie-Gould, Corporate Affairs Director at M&S, said: “When we asked colleagues and customers what issues were front of their mind, their family’s mental health was top of the list. That’s why we launched our biggest ever charity partnership with YoungMinds in September, which brings practical help and optimism to support young people with their mental health. Our colleagues and customers have been phenomenal; helping us smash our initial fundraising target with a donation of £1.4m to date.

“To coincide with Children’s Mental Health week, we are encouraging everyone to check in with the young people in their lives and launching a fresh fundraising drive.

“We are also introducing groundbreaking training to help colleagues talk to young people who may be struggling with mental health, and establishing a YoungMinds colleague network so colleagues can get involved and access support.

“Our Coalition of the Hopeful is going from strength to strength.”

Laura Bunt, Chief Executive of YoungMinds, said: “We know how important it is for young people to be able to talk about their mental health, so we’re pleased to be launching this training with M&S. More young people than ever are struggling with their mental health. Opening up can be hard, but having an adult they can trust and talk to can make a big difference. This training will equip adults with tools to help them start a conversation with a young person in their life so they can show them they’re not alone with their mental health.

“This is the latest step in our partnership with M&S which has so far raised £1.4m. Every donation helps our work to support young people’s mental health.”

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