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Did you know 10 October 2018 is World Mental Health Day?

October 9th, 2018

Mental health problems can affect anyone, any day of the year, but 10 October is a great day to show your support for better mental health and start looking after you and your staff’s wellbeing. Sadly, mental health problems affect around 1 in 4 people per year. They range from common problems, such as depression and anxiety, to rarer problems like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

According to the NASUWT poll 2017: 6 in 10 teachers say their job has impacted on their mental health in the past 12 months, and many reported turning to alcohol, medication and other drugs as a coping strategy.

12% had undergone counselling in the last year and 11% (slightly higher than the national average) had used or increased their reliance on anti-depressants.

Here are Octavo’s HR top 10 tips:

  1. Adopt an organisational approach to staff well-being and identify what contributes to poor mental health. Consider setting up a Wellbeing Committee.
  2. Make staff welfare a key discussion point in school wide decision making.
  3. Promoting good mental health and wellbeing to everyone and remind colleagues that wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility. Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when staff are struggling.
  4. The DfE workload reduction toolkit has a number of practical tools that can be build into activities in INSET to educate and build resilience skills.
  5. Encourage staff to organise activities periodically to keep the wellbeing discussion on going.
  6. Provide staff with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development.
  7. Develop mental health awareness among staff by making information, tools and support accessible.
  8. Promote effective people management through line managers support and training. Encourage all staff, especially managers to set examples, lead from the front.
  9. Try not to add workload, make supporting welfare fit into existing systems and processes. But, share any workload related to mental health activities -lots of staff doing a little, also see DfE workload audit.
  10. Learn from others – outside your school and outside the education sector.

Useful external tools

Difficult Conversation and How to Manage them – training on 1 November
Essential People Management Skills for line managers – training on 2 November
Employee Assistance Programme service.

If you are keen to find out more about mental health, resilience and wellbeing please contact Octavo HR via our advice line – 020 8241 5483 or email us at