Putting the spotlight on teacher wellbeing for Mental Health Awareness Week
Mental Health Awareness Week plays a significant role in recognising that teachers, like the population as a whole, need support in the workplace.
Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, the theme for the week, running from 18th-24th May 2020, is kindness, with a focus on how people can support each other through tough times.
The week comes at a time when teachers have revealed heightened stress and anxiety levels on the back of the Coronavirus pandemic.
A YouGov poll found that just over a third of teachers currently feel anxious about their health and wellbeing, with concerns over their general health and how they will support pupils working from home.
This means it is more important than ever to ensure that teachers, their assistants, and those in administrative roles, have all of the support they require.
Maintaining teacher mental health and wellbeing
While teaching is highly rewarding, it can also be challenging, which can impact on the mental health of those in a wide variety of different teaching jobs.
However, there are various ways that a teacher can attempt to reduce stress, including the need to recognise the importance of exercise for a healthy mind.
Having time away from the classroom to relax is vital to maintaining a good work-life balance while waking up slightly earlier is recommended as it can help to make morning preparations feel less rushed.
The importance of the school environment
School settings that provide good levels of support for staff are more likely to have higher teacher retention rates and should find that recruitment is easier too.
The school environment and set-up are also key for teaching staff, as they need to feel they can address and discuss issues freely – an environment where this is not possible will mean mental health issues are likely to be more prevalent.
Head teachers and school boards, therefore, have a pivotal role to play in ensuring that a school is a welcoming and appealing place for teachers to work, as well as a positive environment in which children can thrive.
At the same time, teaching staff also need to be aware of the array of support options available to them if needed, both in their school and from various charities and support groups such as Mind and Education Support.
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