Improving mental health awareness at school
Mental health awareness: Why it is important and how to do it in your school.
Guides / 6 mins read
Increasing mental health awareness can help to create a psychologically safe workplace, reduce stigma, and ensure that staff seek help when they need to.
Knowing more about wellbeing, mental health, and mental health problems, can help staff to:
- Manage their wellbeing to stay well where previously stress may have become unmanageable
- Know how to safely talk about mental health, if they need to discuss their own, or want to support a colleague
- Spot the signs in themselves or another colleague that their mental health may be struggling
- Seek the right kind of support, at the right time
- Be better leaders and managers! Making mental health and wellbeing a part of your everyday business in leadership and management brings rewards of staff trust, motivation and commitment.
- Create a culture in your school where mental health is a subject people are comfortable talking about
Some people may already have some knowledge and understanding of mental health, and others will have none. Some will be mentally well and accessing information about mental health information in relation to wellbeing, and others may be struggling or managing mental health problems and so might opt for information around support services. There is also a whole group of people in the middle who don’t consider themselves to have a mental health problem, yet nor do they feel completely mentally well, often because stress or life events are impacting on them.
Supporting people to access information and support in relation to potential external triggers can also be a useful way to engage employees in mental health conversations, for example, making it part of back to work conversations after parental, bereavement or caring leave. In order to take account of this and to reach all of your employees, regardless of their current mental health, raising awareness at all levels across your school is essential. This means practically, in teams and departments, as well as through policies and school plans.
Building mental health literacy means boosting employees’ knowledge and skills so they can better manage their own mental health and improve their ability to support that of others. Ensuring staff and managers have a good understanding of mental health, and the factors that affect workplace wellbeing, is essential for building a healthy, happy and high performing school.
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