Last week was Mental Health Awareness week (8-14 May) and it again highlighted the need for more attention to Mental Health in schools. MP’s this month have called for more action to be taken around supporting pupils with mental health issues. They felt that the financial pressures currently facing schools was inhibiting the support they could offer to pupils with mental health problems. Support services such as onsite counselling were being cut due to budget reductions. Is this something that your school is experiencing?
Chair of the Health Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, said: “With half of all mental illness starting before the age of 15, and three quarters by aged 18, the government and educators must ensure sufficient time is allowed for activities in schools and colleges that develop the life-long skills children and young people need to support their wellbeing.”
With budget cuts already affecting mental health support services for pupils it is also worth considering how you continue to provide staff with mental health support as well. A recent survey conducted by Comres for BBC Radio 5 live found that around 50% of people would not speak up at work if they had a mental health issue. Encouraging staff to come forward when problems begin can prevent long-term absence occurring. So how do you continue to offer mental health support in the current financial pressures? Here are a few things to consider:
- Can you outsource counselling support for both staff and pupils so that it is still available even if there is no counsellor available onsite?
- If you currently outsource counselling then consider more than one provider to compare costs and service
- Reviewing and reissuing your wellbeing policy may remind people of the avenues to take if they feel they have a mental problem
- Make sure in one-to-ones that you review the current mental state and ask if any support is needed
- If stress is causing mental health issues for your staff why not consider mindfulness training to help manage stress
- Monitor absence to highlight when a mental health issue is perhaps developing. Early warning signs could help an issue to be prevented.
If you need help with counselling, monitoring absence, wellbeing policies or providing mindfulness training please get in touch. One of the team would be happy to discuss your needs.