Good staff wellbeing is vitally important to cultivate a positive ethos within the whole school. It is important that everyone is given the right emotional and practical support, so that they can, in turn, support the pupils.
School staff are drawn to work with children through compassion, to make a difference to those in their care but it is worth remembering that the most important person to take care of is yourself, so you have the energy to care for others.
If you need hard evidence, staff wellbeing can improve performance and job satisfaction, which can lead to reduced staff turnover. It can also help to reduce absence (both short and long term), increase productivity and promote staff engagement.
MindEd have a Coronavirus Staff Resilience Hub signposting the best advice to support frontline staff to manage their mental health and wellbeing through the pandemic.
Mental Health at Work is curated by Mind and works together with many other recognised partners. It provides information and resources and has added a section to support frontline staff during the pandemic, with an area specifically for educators.
How schools can support Staff Wellbeing
The Mentally Healthy Schools website has dedicated pages relating to staff wellbeing, including useful guidance around developing policies, strategies and ideas on how to create a supportive environment for all staff.
The Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families has also produced a Guide to Supporting Staff Wellbeing containing information about what school staff and senior leaders can do to support their own and their colleagues' wellbeing.
Cornwall Council's Workplace Health Award is a county standard of good practice and a quality mark of health and wellbeing in the workplace. The aim of the award is to act as a free toolkit to encourage employers to think about ways to improve the health and wellbeing of their employees. Several schools and academies in Cornwall have used the free access to improve the health of their workforce and support staff. You can see some of the ideas which Cornish schools are already using here.
Changing a school’s culture may take time but it is possible. Even in the most supportive school environments, there still may be changes that can be made to improve things.
Education Support is the UK's only charity providing mental health and wellbeing support services to all education staff and organisations. They champion good mental health and wellbeing of teachers, lecturers, school leaders, support staff and prison educators throughout their careers and during retirement as well as supporting education leaders with a wide range of tools to help improve professional and organisational development too. Their support includes a 24 hour helpline 08000 562 561, grants, and support to develop a healthy and nurturing workplace.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists - Provides a terrific range of leaflets about emotional health and wellbeing and mental health for teachers, young people and parent/carers.
NHS One You Mental Health - There are times when we feel stressed, low or anxious, or have trouble sleeping. But there are things we can do to look after our mental health and wellbeing. Get expert advice, practical tips and a personalised action plan via the website and Every Mind Matters campaign.
Cornwall Council provides support for anyone with concerns about their mental health including how to put in place a safety plan.
CALM - The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) have lots of really helpful ideas and resources to help us all find our way through these difficult times. They aim to help people get through moments of crisis (but understand that not everyone wants to learn to play the oboe during lockdown!). They also have a telephone helpline open every day from 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year. Remember - Being silent isn't being strong.
Schools in Mind - A free network for schoo l staff and allied professionals, which shares academic and clinical expertise regarding the wellbeing and mental health issues that affect schools. The network provides a trusted source of up-to-date and accessible information and resources that school leaders, teachers and support staff can use to support the mental health and wellbeing of the children and young people in their care.
Don't forget to document your emotional health and wellbeing work as part of your Healthy Schools Award