Mental Health Awareness Week- stress: are we coping?
14th May 2018
Mental Health Awareness Week (14th-20th May 2018), ran annually by the Mental Health Foundation, aims to raise awareness of mental health and the many factors that contribute to negative mental health. This year’s theme is stress and poses the question ‘Are we coping?’
Although stress in itself is not a mental health problem, being the innate response to sensed threat or danger, it can manifest into or increase the chances of developing mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
As time has passed, our brains have somewhat failed to keep up and can therefore not distinguish between a dangerous animal in our midst or being told off by our boss for getting to work two minutes late. When events such as the latter ignites a sense of fear and then repeats itself, you can become vulnerable to chronic stress, which can often lead to destructive behaviours- but how do we cope with it?
Combating stress for school staff
Research from YouGov (2017) found that a staggering 75% of school and college teaching staff have experienced symptoms of stress due to their jobs, with just over half stating that they have considered leaving education due to the pressure their work has caused them.
With 29% of staff and 37% of senior leaders suffering from stress either most or all of the time, so it is unsurprising that many have gone on to develop problems with their mental health, including panic attacks, insomnia and difficulty concentrating.
The Education Support Partnership provide a helpline and online chat service to help combat stress, which you can find here. They also recommend some practical techniques for school staff to help handle work related stress:
- Work out priorities, keep a list – make the tasks manageable
- Identify your stress situations and learn stress-reduction techniques
- Think before you commit (don’t overwork yourself!)
- Don’t dwell on past mistakes (forgive yourself!) and reward your achievements
- Don’t bottle up your frustration! Create a self-care plan to take promote positive wellbeing
- Help children and young people to cope with stress
Combating stress for students
Young people are coping with multiple stress triggers at any given point; whether it’s online pressures, upcoming exams or problems within their family, stress can soon get on top of them, leaving them to feel like there is no way out. There is a plethora of resources available for young people to help cope with stress and take care of their mental health, with the example of YoungMinds who offer advice and support – but how can educators help?
- Reduce classroom clutter to avoid distraction
- Post a daily or weekly schedule to ensure anxious students can be prepared for lessons
- Give small breaks to ensure students aren’t overloaded with information
- Maintain a positive learning environment
- Talk about it! Prepare students by teaching them how to best deal with stressful situations can prevent or lessen stress. This also creates an open channel of communication for them to come to staff members for support or advice
NEW! Mental Health Keyword Library
With the help of our incredible charity partners, Harmless, No Panic and Mental Health America, we have developed our brand new mental health keyword library, whilst adding valuable keywords and phrases to our existing suicide and self-harm libraries.
Covering mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, OCD, insomnia, bipolar and more, our new keyword library aims to protect students by alerting members of school staff to these issues of concern.
Impero Education Pro’s keyword libraries monitor devices on the school network, to capture and log instances of safeguarding risk to provide the context. School staff are alerted to this flagged activity and are empowered to discuss safeguarding concerns, offer counter narratives and intervene before an incident escalates.
Want to learn more? Book onto an Impero Education Pro demonstration today by clicking here!