World Mental Health Day

The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day 2022 is making Mental Health and Wellbeing a global priority for all. 

As a Wellbeing Consultant working alongside schools in Kent, I am regularly having conversations with educators who are witnessing a decline in their staff’s mental health and overall wellbeing. These conversations, sadly are not one offs, with 54% of educators having considered leaving the sector in the past two years due to pressures on their mental health and 42% thinking their organisation’s culture has a negative impact on their wellbeing. (Teacher Wellbeing Index

With such shocking statistics, World Mental Health Day acts as a good reminder that we all have a role to play in prioritising mental health and wellbeing in schools. 

It is easy to forget that wellbeing requires a whole school approach to staff wellbeing. In other words, the most effective wellbeing programmes will be a combination of both what the school can do to support you as an employee and what you can do as an individual to prioritise your own wellbeing and health.

From a school’s perspective to create a culture that has staff wellbeing at its core requires:


  • Individuals shouldn’t reach crisis stage before help is made available to them. In fact, early intervention is critical for preventing declines in our overall wellbeing and reducing the progress of a mental illness. 
  • As a school you can invest in training Mental Health First Aiders whose role is to prevent harm, promote recovery and provide comfort to colleagues experiencing poor mental health.
  • Many schools also provide access to staff counselling for staff who require professional support or may already have a mental health condition. Staff Counselling in conjunction with Occupational Health may indicate where adjustments are needed to further support that individual and allow them to continue or return to work. 


  • As well as introducing specific roles in schools such as Mental Health First Aiders, you can offer all staff opportunities to acquire new skills that will enhance their mental health and wellbeing. 
  • These opportunities should be person centric and bespoke to individual needs. From managing stress, developing resilience, setting boundaries, there is a wealth of wellbeing training courses available.
  • You can also create a dedicated place to go for sources of information and support. Creating a staff noticeboard, intranet page or Teams channel where you signpost to local support charities, resources and information promoting positive mental health and wellbeing habits.


  • Your day to day working practices should be regularly assessed to minimise risks to employee’s wellbeing and mental health.
  • Ask staff for their feedback on all aspects of their wellbeing including their physical, mental, social and financial wellbeing. Do they feel they have the right level of support in place? Once you have their feedback you can use this to identify working practices that are having a negative impact on staff wellbeing with limited impact on teaching and learning.
  • Review your internal policies that are linked to the working practices identified –is it workload, marking, flexible working, behaviour management. Are there any adjustments that can be made? If you changed your approach what would the impact on teaching and learning be? This discussion can be debated in forums such as a Staff Wellbeing Group discussing both the needs of the school and the individual. The HSE’s Education Talking toolkit for schools and colleges can be used as a framework to help line managers, heads of department, to have simple, practical conversations with employees. 

From an individual’s perspective there are also plenty of way to prioritise your own mental health and wellbeing:

Address the Negative Narrative Around Self-Care

  • When you hear the word self-care you won’t be alone if you immediately jump to negative thoughts. Perhaps you feel there is no time, perhaps you feel meditating isn’t for you. These thoughts create barriers that prevent you from prioritising your own wellbeing. In the example of time, time will always be limited, in schools however, everyone does have the opportunity to put their wellbeing first. Self-care doesn’t have to involved attending an hour yoga class in your break (something that just isn’t possible), it can be simple things such as stepping outside for some fresh air, packing a nutritious lunch, asking for help with a task. Our 8 Ways to Cope With Feeling Overwhelmed Now the School Year Has Begun blog has some great suggestions. 

Educate Yourself

  • When we experience a decline in our wellbeing, we can feel shame expressing that we aren’t coping. The Teacher Wellbeing index found 44% of staff who chose not to speak to someone about how they were feeling did so because they were worried it may negatively affect their perception of them or been seen as a sign of weakness (35%). 
  • By understanding more about your mental health and just how common it is for someone to experience poor mental health can help remove the stigma around this topic. Did you know one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives?  
  • To increase your understanding on wellbeing and mental health there are some fantastic websites available from Mind, Mental Health At Work, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Education Support as well as our very own Wellbeing Hub.

Hopefully some of these suggestions will remind you the important role we all play in making mental health and wellbeing a priority for all. If you would like to get in touch and find out more about our wellbeing services, please contact

Research suggests that ‘when we experience authenticity…we feel a greater sense of wellbeing.’ When you feel like you can be yourself at work, you feel more comfortable to share your perspective, values, and beliefs. Feeling empowered to be yourself is also a great way to form meaning relationships and deeper connections with your colleagues.

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