As October 5 marks World Teacher Day, the conversation around the mental health and wellbeing of those in the teaching profession becomes more important for us.
In 2022, the Teacher Wellbeing Index reported 78% of teachers asked felt they had experienced symptoms of poor mental health due to their work, and 59% have said they have considered leaving the profession.
Our workplace wellbeing training team help organisations ensure their staff are given the tools to support both their own, and their colleagues, mental health and wellbeing.
Tom is a former assistant head teacher, and now works with Solent Mind’s workplace wellbeing training team, and he said: “As a former teacher and senior school leader, I have seen firsthand the impact that wellbeing and mental health training can have for teachers and school staff. And what can happen when this isn’t in place.
“I believe teaching is one of the most rewarding jobs, but also one of the most challenging. So we need to be supporting teachers in order to not only keep them in the profession, but help them thrive.”
This sentiment has been echoed by Solent Mind staff who previously worked as teachers, including employment advisor Charlie, who wrote a blog on her experience: “In September, every school wants to try this new initiative and implement this new rule which, 99% of the time, doesn’t happen or stick. Nothing gets followed through but there we are as the classroom teachers being told at the start of every term that we need to be doing more.”
Senior Wellbeing Advisor Natalie said: “I think the emphasis on workplace wellbeing at Solent Mind is so paramount to being productive and looking after oneself at work is so vital to not burning out. I barely ever stopped for a lunch break whilst teaching and worked ten hour days, at my former school there was a toxic culture of working yourself into the ground which is not healthy or sustainable, particularly if you have a long-term mental health diagnosis.
“In my first week at Solent Mind I met Alice, also a former teacher and she told me off (jokingly!) for working through my lunch break and eating a sandwich whilst I worked. Now I go for a little walk in the sunshine or practice some mindfulness instead. I am so much happier, way less stressed and my mental health is great.”
Wellbeing Accessor Alice explained the expectations: “One thing that I have learnt since working in mental health and wish I knew as a teacher is that the expectations placed on staff are unfair and unrealistic.
“I’ve just done a training session on resilience and how important it is to take breaks and how much that is a part of a culture within Solent Mind. It is alien to me. I feel guilt every time I go to the loo outside of lunch time. I wish I knew to say no and push back.”
With almost 2,500 people trained last year, Solent Mind’s workplace wellbeing training team wants to train and share the best practices of the organisation to help teachers across Hampshire.
Tom encourages schools and organisations to reach out: “Having worked with the Solent Mind training team for the past three years, and with a particular focus on schools, I highly recommend SLT, Governors and Wellbeing leads explore how valuable it could be for their schools.”
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