The Wellbeing Toolkit 2
Many families today are exposed to high level of daily stress and the incidence of childhood depression is increasing. An estimated ten per cent of children in any school experience serious depression, such as going through extended periods of despair and even engaging in suicidal thoughts. Young people do not enjoy carefree childhoods but instead have to cope with the devastating effects of divorce, exposure to drugs and bullying amongst other significant stressors. Young people are most vulnerable to negative emotions and at risk of developing depression at the age of 11, when they move from primary to secondary education (Reivich and Shatte, 2002).
Such factors clearly also increase the level of stress experienced by teachers and support staff who are tasked with ensuring young people’s wellbeing and in removing any barriers to learning and achievement. This is also coupled with a relentless inspection regime and a culture of target-setting which some professionals feel is damaging teachers’ mental health with many reporting symptoms of stress and exhaustion, according to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) survey (2014). At the same time, the ATL reported more and more teachers are complaining of “unacceptable workloads” and insufficient support from schools over “challenging parents”. More specifically, over a third - 38% - of school and college staff reported having seen a rise in mental health issues among colleagues in the past two years and 55% said their job had a negative impact on their mental health. The key aims of this innovative and comprehensive publication are therefore to allow professionals and staff who work with children and young people to:
A culture change?
In June 2015, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published new guidelines entitled Workplace Policy and Management Practices to Improve the Health and Wellbeing of Employees. The aims are to explore the positive and negative effects an organisation’s culture can have on people’s health and wellbeing, promote leadership that supports the health and wellbeing of employees and help line managers achieve this and strengthen their role in ensuring the health and wellbeing of employees. Among the recommendations NICE makes is to have a support base in place for all teaching staff and to make health and wellbeing a core priority for senior management.
A paradigm change
Wellbeing for both students AND teachers can no longer be seen as a ‘fluffy’ concept. Wellbeing in schools is a fundamental pre-requisite for healthy, constructive and productive quality teaching and learning. Both students and teachers need to be supported, fit and well to be inspired and inspiring. This does not happen without the right support mechanisms and mindsets for all involved in the teaching and learning process.
The need for a programme of support
In the current climate it is therefore more pertinent and important than ever that we address these issues in a proactive manner and set up systems of support that ensure individual wellbeing within a supportive and nurturing context. We only have to make reference to the above statistics – the number of teachers leaving the profession and the number of professionals retiring from teaching and subsequently suffering physical and mental ill health as a result of the stress levels that they have had to cope with over a sustained period of time.
- Topics from the Wellbeing Toolkit 2 include:
- Topic 1 Understanding and assessing your mental health and wellbeing
- Topic 2 Developing a growth mindset
- Topic 3 Understanding the impact of trauma and how to utilise psychological debriefing
- Topic 4 The role of emotional literacy in your life
- Topic 5 How to be an emotion coach
- Topic 6 Understanding the impact of bereavement
- Topic 7 Managing your stress – building your tool box
- Topic 8 Understanding issues of vicarious trauma when supporting children and young people with mental health difficulties
- Topic 9 Defining and asserting yourself
- Topic 10 Managing conflict
- Topic 11 The resilience snake – building resilience using key tools of positive psychology
- Topic 12 Using strategies from cognitive behaviour therapy to build resilience
- Topic 13 Using strategies from appreciative inquiry to support the change process
- Topic 14 Using mindfulness approaches to reduce stress
- Topic 15 Developing wellbeing through creative activities – creating your ‘flow’ plan
- Topic 16 Using tools from neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) to foster a positive mindset in young people
- Topic 17 Developing circles of support
- Topic 18 Using and developing your communication skills
- Topic 19 Using coaching to maintain staff wellbeing
- Topic 20 Developing reflective practice
The Wellbeing Toolkit 2 is a valuable resource to ensure professionals wellbeing is looked after, and with this in mind, here are some quotes from users of the Toolkit:
"The Wellbeing Toolkit will be invaluable in supporting teachers and other educational staff to feel confident in their knowledge of mental health and emotional wellbeing. The topics covered provide a superb and easily accessible knowledge base, which will inform and help adults to reflect on the key challenges to pupil wellbeing and the related support strategies."
"One of my favourite aspects is the important emphasis upon staff wellbeing. This is an incredibly important message for all adults in our society to think about, as we must to look after our own emotional and mental health in order to provide an example for children and young people, and in order to have the capacity to best support them."
The Wellbeing Toolkit is £85 plus VAT and is available now.