World Mental Health Day 2020: Supporting teachers and learners

With World Mental Health Day falling on 10 October each year, and this year's theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health on 'mental health for all', we take a look at how you can support the wellbeing of yourself and your learners. 

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As a teacher, trainer or leader, often you will be supporting the mental health and wellbeing of your learners and staff, but it is just as important to look after your own mental health. We know that sometimes that is easier said than done—and that the sheer volume of advise and tools can be overwhelming.

Whether it is coping with the demands of your role, or the changes to teaching practices because of Covid-19, we have highlighted some key tools you can access to support your own wellbeing. Whether you seek support in shared experiences, you reach out to others, or practise mindfulness exercises in your classroom or at home, it is never too late to prioritise self-care during your working week. 

External resources 

  • Education Support Helpline: This is a confidential helpline for anyone working in the education sector, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Access free information, support, coaching and advice from BACP accredited counsellors. 
    Find out more by visiting the Education Support website.
  • Mental Health First Aid Training: Find out more about the one-day mental health awareness and skills course, which will offer you and your colleagues knowledge and confidence to provide mental health first aid for the most common mental health issues, and an understanding of how to help build a mentally healthy workplace, challenge stigma and support positive wellbeing.
    Find out more by visiting the Mental Health First Aid website.

You can also access a range of tools and resources supporting mental health and wellbeing across the SET and ETF website: 

  • SET Conference 2020: At this year's SET Conference, you may be interested in signing up to attend one of our breakout sessions covering themes in health and wellbeing. You can find out more about what will be covered by visiting the conference pages.
  • Law Express: Whether it is work-related or not, any legal issue can result in stress and worries which can affect your mental health and wellbeing. As a SET member, you can access free and confidential advice with the Law Express helpline
  • Special Interest Digest: Sign-up to view the Health and Wellbeing Special Interest Digest and access a wide range of resources, including the Mindful toolkit cards, designed to be used with prisoners with a range of SEND needs, but focusing on mental wellbeing.
  • Blog: Dealing with the pressure to be outstanding, written by SET member Tina Bullen.
  • Blog: Unemployment and mental health, written by SET member Maureen O'Callaghan.
  • ArticleMental Health, Wellbeing and resilience in Further Education. "Mental health, wellbeing and resilience are huge in the further education context", writes Jennifer Lindsell, Graphic Design BTEC L2/3 and Art teacher at Joseph Chamberlain College.
  • Article: Support your health and wellbeing in the workplaceadvice on how to get a better work-life balance and find the right support and advice when you need it.
  • Webchat: Mindfulness for learners and practitionershow mindfulness can help practitioners deal with challenging workloads, stress, and manage behavioural issues in the classroom.
  • Webinar: Staff health and wellbeing at workwebinar looking at health and wellbeing in the workplace. Kathryn James defines what we mean by health and wellbeing, what it is about work that can sustain and promote positive health and wellbeing, and the triggers to poor health and wellbeing.
  • Webinar: Mental health awareness—a practitioner's perspective. This webinar outlines research and perspectives on mental health from a practitioner's viewpoint, including: an overview of mental health and wellbeing, some of the challenges that affect our emotional wellbeing, the impact this can have on us and our work and coping strategies.

Information with a focus on learners' mental health: 

  • Article: Supporting learners' mental health in further education and skillswith students increasingly struggling with mental illness, this article looks at how colleges and further education providers can raise awareness and address mental health difficulties.
  • Webinar: Supporting learners' with mental health needswebinar aiming to support members who are working with learners and apprentices with mental health needs. It looks at how teachers and trainers can: support the declaration of mental health needs and enable learners to talk about their mental health; support learners with mental health needs in the classroom and in work placement; get support for themselves and develop their own professional practice in supporting learners with mental health needs.

For more information on mental health and wellbeing, please visit the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) website.

You can also find information and advice from our partners: The Education Support Partnership, along with Mind, and Mental Health at Work.

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