According to figures from the Health and Safety Executive, teaching is one of the most stressful jobs you can have in Britain (HSE, 2017) and thousands of teachers in England are on long-term stress-leave (TES, 11th January 2018). In addition, with mental health issues affecting so many children and young people, teachers are often in the best position to recognise when their students are struggling.
Many of us are familiar with the aircraft safety briefing that tells us to always fit our own oxygen mask before helping others. This metaphor can help us to remember that those who work with children and young people can only be fully effective in their role if they prioritise their own wellbeing (TES, 22nd January 2018). Schools can actively help their school staff to care for themselves, to reduce stress and increase productivity, which will ultimately have a positive impact on our young people.
If staff are not able to manage their own mental health, this clearly has an impact on performance and pupil mental health. The cost of poor staff mental health to employers is estimated at £33-42 billion, with a £9.98 return on investment from each pound spent on training. In education, 10% of UK Teachers leave state sector teaching each year and over 40% of new teachers leave within 5 years. 80% report feeling stressed and 55% believe their job has a negative effect on their health and well-being (Stephenson Farmer Review, 2017).
Staff support programmes
YMCA Trinity Group have developed a range of programmes to support staff in a variety of settings including schools and workplaces. These include the following:
- Thrive App – We have teamed up with app developers to launch a 24/7 self-help support service for all school staff and students. It is clinically proven to help prevent, detect and treat common mental health issues and can also provide valuable insight into the needs of staff by measuring their well-being and giving you rich data on a termly basis. We can also tailor it to link with any existing Employee Assist Programmes if required. You can find more information on our Thrive App page. The app is also available to businesses, albeit in a different package, so please get in touch to find out more.
- Direct Support – With mental health issues continuing to rise, more is needed to support staff that are struggling. Many settings do not know where to start when it comes to offering professional support. Whilst the app and existing telephone based counselling is useful, some will always prefer face to face support. Our team of fully qualified counsellors can provide bespoke support on a credit based system, or by providing more regular access using our tried and tested model. This could include any of the following, with the ultimate aim of reducing staff absence and increasing productivity:
- Access to face to face counselling for those that need it using a credit based system
- A central held bank of credits to be used as required on a referral basis
- Additional ‘drop-in’ sessions made available on a weekly/fortnightly basis for low level concerns or advise
- Option of monthly clinical supervision of staff working with vulnerable young people
- Training – One of the challenges amongst school staff is being able to cope with the needs of children and young people. By providing access to mental health training, staff will increase their confidence to do their job, and therefore reduce the stress that this brings. It also has the added benefit of indirectly supporting their own mental health by addressing specific issues that might affect staff and those they work with. A training needs analysis could identify the need for one or more of the following:
- Whole Staff Introduction to Mental Health Training to increase awareness and confidence amongst staff to identify the early signs of mental health issues and how to support those that are going through trauma
- Mentoring Skills Training to increase the ability of staff to support each other and motivate others using solution focussed approaches
- Mental Health Lead Training – to up skill a key individual to learn about a range of mental health issues and cascade knowledge to staff
- Staff Well-Being Workshops – covering a bespoke set of topics such as self-compassion, self-reflection, mindfulness, etc. as required.
For more information, visit our staff training website.
- Consultancy and Well-Being Policies – In order to develop a positive well-being culture in your setting, we need to understand what the needs are and make it everyone’s business. Involving all staff in this process will enable the programmes above to become embedded and reduce the need for crisis intervention and staff absence. Our programme helps provide support in the following way:
- A 2-day consultation programme to analyse needs and develop a whole school well-being strategy – involving focus groups and surveys with governors, staff and students, plus parents if required.
- Read our staff well-being leaflet (279KB, PDF)
Useful links and documents
- Thriving at Work (1,021KB, PDF)
- Are you doing enough? (Health and Safety Executive) (69KB, PDF)
- Great Dream: Ten Keys to Happier Living (Action for Happiness) (13,729KB, PDF)
- Introduction to Mentally Healthy Workplaces (MIND) (541KB, PDF)