Mental health, wellbeing and resilience is a topic that many of us are now speaking about. There are a few different reasons why; high profile campaigning by public figures, and the rise in young people needing to access support mean that this is a really hot topic
So what is it that schools and colleges can do to help our students?
TAKE PART IN TRAINING
You might not have time or resource to take out of your busy schedules to go to days’ worth of training, and you don’t have to. As well as more traditional training, The Charlie Waller Trust provide free online training for those working in education that look at topics from what signs you need to look out for, knowing who to involve, and transitions.
If you are able to dedicate a bit more time and money into training there is lots of training run through different charities and organisations. Mental Health First Aid provide training which can be found here.
RUN 'TEA & TALK' SESSIONS
There are lots of mental health awareness days such as World Mental Health Day (October 10th) or Mental Health Awareness Month in May, or Time to Talk day in February, giving plenty of opportunities to have those important conversations.
Running a termly Tea & Talk session could show students that it’s OK to talk openly about mental health, just provide some hot drinks and a few biscuits. This is a simple activity that can be done in tutor time but could mean a lot to some students.
TALK POSITIVLY & OPENLY ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH
Students will pick up on so many things that you do and say, and this is why checking the way you talk about mental health is incredibly important. Knowing terms that you should and should not say is really important. Avoiding terms such as ‘chin up’, or ‘pull your socks up’ is a good idea. There are lots of hints and tips through websites such as Time to Change that you can check out if you are unsure.
MAKE SURE YOUR SCHOOL IS TALKING ABOUT SUICIDE PREVENTION
With over 200 school children dying by suicide each year, it is vital that schools are looking at what role they can play in helping to prevent suicide. PAPYRUS, the Prevention of Young Suicide Charity have put together a handy guide on how you can make your schools suicide safer, and writing suicide prevention strategies which you can read here - https://papyrus-uk.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/toolkitfinal.pdf