What is a school without teachers?
Recent research into the mental health of teachers is alarming. 1 in 5 teachers said they experience regular panic attacks, over half having also suffered from insomnia and over a third found it difficult to concentrate. In a discussion about schools it is easy for children to dominate the conversation, yet the support staff are glue which hold it all together. The Government’s concept of ‘Whole School Community Mental Health’ means just that. A mindful, mentally strong educational environment requires engagement on all fronts. It is a team effort. Teachers are human too and their performance is a direct result of the state of their mental health.
From a practical perspective, mental ill health at work costs UK employers £26bn each year; £1035 per employee.
However, again a member of staff is more than just a figure. They each in their own way have an opportunity to improve a child’s life and make a difference to their mental health, allowing them to focus on the true task at hand – learning and growing as a human being. After all, a happy and harmonious learning environment has to start with those who teach.
Getting it right…
Whilst we at School Mental Health Group understand the importance of mental health and the vital changes that need to take place, we also understand that it is hard to imagine such a holistic educational environment. However, you need look no further than front-runner Finland. With an innovative educational system, centred around staff and children’s mental wellbeing, they continue to place at the top of educational world rankings, time and time again; not that they would care.
Happiness is taken very seriously in Finland. They do not believe in merit-based systems and there are no school league tables, as they believe this attitude can quickly cause teachers to forget what truly makes a happy and harmonious learning environment. Kids should just be kids.
However, should children begin to struggle with their mental health, Finnish teachers and support staff respond quickly and effectively, armed with a strong understanding of mental health and how this can be adapted for each child. Reportedly, 1 in 8 children in Finland have received extended mental health support during their time in education. Critically, Finland also recognise that a strong mental health environment is needed by teachers too and they are treated no different as a result.
So, with this in mind we want to help you foster these principles by supplying the tools and resources in an accessible format, so you can begin to make these vital changes today.
As happiness may not be on the curriculum just yet, but you can firmly place mental health and wellbeing on the agenda.