Is your school mentally healthy?
Published: May 17 2019
In light of Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 which takes place between 13 May to 19 May Kent HR looks at managing mental health in schools and support wellbeing.
Mental health issues are more common than we might think and it can affect anyone, at any time which means that it not only impacts staff but also pupils.
10% of children and young people (aged 5-16) have a clinically diagnosed mental health problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.
In 2017, 98% of teachers and school leaders came into contact with pupils they believed were experiencing mental health problems, according to a National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers Teacher’s survey. And with children spending 190 days at school per year, teachers are in a prime position to provide much-needed support to pupils with mild to moderate mental health problems.
Teachers’ mental health is no better. In a 2017 Health survey carried out by charity, Education Support Partnership it was found that 75% of all education staff have faced physical or mental health issues in the last two years because of their work and 53% have considered leaving as a result. Mental health of teachers has been in focus for some time with workload being considered as the top work-related reason.
Schools addressing mental health concerns should take a more whole-school approach which creates a more inclusive environment by creating a culture of wellbeing. This should not only includes governors, SLT, teachers, support staff working together but also parents, carers and the wider community. It needs to be an ongoing process which can be achieved by some of the following:
- Having clear process and policies to deal with any concerns
- Thinking about best practice to contribute to good mental health
- Providing training to enhance knowledge
- Getting everyone involved by consulting with children, staff, parents and carers to create inclusivity
- Encouraging an open dialogue and dealing with negativity around mental health
- Using external support when needed
Further support for schools and academies
Find out more about how Kent HR can provide HR support for the education sector.
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