Mental Health Awareness Week
Every year, Mental Health Awareness Week starts on the second Monday in May. This year, that just so happens to be today. The week is organised by the Mental Health Foundation. Each year it focuses on a major issue around mental health. Last year the focus was on stress (something ever-prevalent in education). This year is body image. There are many ways for you to get involved in and support Mental Health Awareness Week but today we wanted to focus specifically on mental health in education and why it’s so important both for teachers and students.
The students –
From a student’s perspective, more and more children are beginning to struggle to cope with their mental health. Rates of depression, anxiety and self-harm are rising at an alarming rate among children and young people. As educators, teachers are at the forefront of having to confront these problems on a daily basis.
Thankfully, the Mental Health Foundation have got your back with their Make It Count campaign. It’s aimed at raising awareness of, and tackling mental health issues in young people. There are a variety of elements to this campaign but one of the most impressive is the Peer Education Project.
This innovative school-based programme sees older students deliver mental health lessons to younger pupils via specialised training delivered by the Mental Health Foundation. With alarming new statistics showing that three students in every classroom will suffer with some kind of mental health problems. 50% of mental health problems are established by the age of 14, now is the time to act.
The teachers –
But what about teachers? We all know how stressful it can be working in education, and recently we covered how teachers are being forced out of the profession due to bullying. Research from the Education Support Partnership shows that 75% of education staff have suffered with physical or mental health issues due to work in the last two years, while 53% of all staff have considered leaving as a result. On top of this, almost one in five have experienced panic attacks and over half have suffered from insomnia or sleep difficulties.
It’s time we looked at what can be done to help people suffering and where those people can go for help and support. A big cause of stress for staff is the ongoing recruitment and retention crisis, which isn’t helped by the constant changing of policies and procedures. The Education Support Partnership are campaigning for the government to slow these changes and improve retention of staff. But unfortunately this will be a long-term fix and not something that will change overnight.
There are things that you as an individual can take charge of to try to improve things, the first of which is opening up and talking to someone.
The Education Support Partnership have telephone counselors available on 08000 562 561. 24/7 support via live chat and email if you don’t feel comfortable picking up the phone. Oftentimes, just taking to someone can be the first step in making yourself feel better and taking charge of things. There is also a wealth of information and advice available on their website, covering everything from managing workload to managing relationships at work.
Join us for the rest of the week where you will find us covering various Mental Health topics in education and get involved in our discussions!