According to the Mental Health Foundation, two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetime.
The DfE have recently published updated research and analysis on supporting mental health in schools and colleges. One case study highlights a whole organisational approach to supporting mental health which encouraged and equipped staff to promote good mental health but was built upon clear team structures and defined roles and responsibilities.
The main benefit reported from a whole organisation approach was the potential it offered for all students and staff to have increased understanding and awareness of mental health, which could result in improved wellbeing. Adopting a whole organisational approach, it is suggested, helps to normalise talking about mental health, and reduce any stigma towards mental ill health. The DfE state that there is clear association between the staffing of mental health and the provision available to students.
- Do you have a staff lead on mental health?
- What training have your staff undertaken?
- How are students involved?
- What protected time and resources are available for support services and activities which support good mental health?
The DfE key learning, including recommendations from case study sites for other schools included:
- Allow time, both day-to-day and over a period of time, to develop – and review – the approach, and to engage staff, students, parents and mental health professionals.
- Have a pastoral or support team structure with defined roles and responsibilities. If possible, separate designated support from behaviour management roles to protect time for the former and avoid students being deterred from seeking help.
- Effective training goes beyond increasing awareness to providing guidance on recognising issues and taking action. Information needs to be accessible, up to date and tailored to roles.
- Delivering a consistent approach requires protecting time for staff to engage in whole organisational training and reflection on practice, and making it clear, including through performance appraisals, that promoting good mental health as well as academic success is valued. Staff also need to be well-rested and supported to be approachable and available to students
Our sister company FusionHR can provide you with proactive support to help you establish a wellbeing strategy and fulfil your responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 improving mental wellbeing for all staff. They offer a comprehensive Health & Wellbeing support package including Occupational Health and Counselling to help employers tackle the causes of mental health problems and boost employee engagement. Just give our friendly team a call and they will put you in touch with someone who can help. Call 01924 907319.