As teachers and education professionals, we are all hyper-aware of our students’ mental health needs and how to ensure their wellbeing is always at the forefront of our minds. But, do you ever stop and think about your own wellbeing and how your chosen profession may be impacting negatively on your mental health?
With 50% of teachers leaving the profession within the first 5 years and one in twenty teachers reporting long-lasting mental health problems, this World Mental Health Day, we really need to spend more time nurturing our own wellbeing.
Although the figures above may not be shocking to some, what may come as a surprise is the link between teachers’ wellbeing and their students’ wellbeing. The Journal of Affective Disorders completed an investigation last year into the factors that may impact upon young people’s mental health and wellbeing. They found that better teacher wellbeing and lower teacher depressive symptoms were positively associated with better student wellbeing. Basically, if you have good mental health, then your students will also have improved mental health. This is a win-win situation!
This country is getting better with recognising that supporting teachers with their mental health and wellbeing will not only lead to healthier, happier professionals, but will also reduce sick leave and increase the number of teachers entering and staying in the profession. But what else can we do to work on this?
The Youth Sport Trust have created a new initiative, ‘Well Schools’, focusing on promoting good mental health in both school staff and pupils. Schools are being encouraged to make a pledge to put wellbeing at the top of their agenda.
The BBC has teamed up with Education Support to build a new area of their BBC Teach website, ‘Teacher Support’. The aim of which is to help guide teachers through the stress and pressures of the school year. As well as thought-provoking articles, there are also some highly entertaining videos of teachers ‘confessions’, talking through topics such as workload, behaviour and exams.
Finally, the Mental Health Foundation website has loads of informative columns, resources and awareness-building campaigns, ready for this year’s World Mental Health Day which can be found here.
If you have any tried and tested techniques for ensuring your mental health stays tip-top, let us know on Twitter @ActiveEduCo