How well are you promoting positive mental health?
Every year, 10 October is observed as World Mental Health Day to raise awareness of mental health worldwide. It's a great opportunity to show support for better mental health and spread the word to start looking after our own and others' wellbeing.
When it comes to discussing mental health, most people immediately think of mental health problems rather than mental health wellbeing - being generally able to think, feel and react in the ways that we need and want to live our lives.
As we are all different; have different life experiences, different genes and different levels of coping skills, it’s natural that we all respond differently to the stresses and strains of life and it is common to describe ourselves as ‘depressed’, ‘stressed’ or ‘anxious’ at times. But it is important to talk openly about mental wellbeing as well as mental health issues.
What do the statistics suggest?
NHS statistics suggest that mental ill-health affects around one in four people in Britain. According to The Teacher Wellbeing Index 2018, 76% of education professionals experienced behavioural, psychological or physical symptoms due to their work, compared to a national average of 60%. 65% add that they wouldn’t feel confident disclosing mental health problems or unmanageable stress to their employer, and 74% say they don’t have enough guidance about mental health at work.
The importance of having a mental health strategy for your school or academy is clear.
So, what can you do to promote mental health wellbeing?
Have a training programme in place so line managers can identify common warning signs in the workplace and address stress before it turns to long term mental health issue;
Promote open discussions of mental health wellbeing and mental health issues;
Have mental health first aiders and champions in the workplace;
Make sure resources on where and how team members can find help are easily accessible;
Have a working group or committee to work on promoting mental health.
What impact will mental health wellbeing have in your workplace?
People with higher levels of mental wellbeing are more likely to be happy, perform well, have good attendance levels, be engaged in their work, interact well with colleagues and adapt to changes in the workplace;
When effective support is provided, team members are more likely to be able to stay in work or return to work after an absence, reducing long-term absences in the organisation;
Issues with presenteeism can be reduced, presenteeism is when team members put aside both mental and physical health problems to attend work. This usually leads to them being less productive and can also add to their colleague’s stress levels as well as their own, negatively impacting staff morale;
Your school will be viewed as one of the best places to work, attracting talent and improving retention;
Reduce costs and improve your school or academy's overall effectiveness.
Apart from addressing issues, it is equally important to share success stories. But how can you know what is working and what isn't? Or if the workplace is either the sole or main contributor to stress and anxiety levels? A well-drafted staff wellbeing survey can be a powerful tool to capture that key information and enable you to understand areas for improvement as well as celebration within your school or academy. It can help you develop your strategy to address underlying issues.
We can help you work towards improving mental health in your school. If you are already one of our HR Consultancy clients you should have seen our newly designed Wellbeing, Stress and Mental Health toolbox full of guidance and top tips, but did you know we can also help you with an expertly designed staff wellbeing survey?
For more information, get in touch!