Mental Health Awareness Week
When we’re busy looking out for our pupils’ wellbeing it can be easy to forget to look after ourselves. As the nation marks Mental Health Awareness Week, Mrs Morales, our Pastoral and SEND Coordinator, discusses how teachers can look after their mental health, and how the Pilgrims’ community can help support each other.
As teachers, we are often so focussed on the wellbeing of our pupils we can forget to think about ourselves and our fellow staff members. That’s why this week, I would like to highlight the importance of thinking about our own mental health too.
We are role models for our pupils, so it is vital we demonstrate that looking after our mental health is an important task. It goes without saying that if we look after ourselves, we are more able to support others.
Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 is from May 9th until May 15th and this year’s theme is loneliness. Research shows that feeling lonely has a negative impact on both our mental and physical health.
Despite being surrounded by children all day, teachers can often suffer from loneliness due to a lack of meaningful conversation with another adult.
Lockdowns and online teaching made this problem worse, but even as we get used to being back in the classroom, feelings of loneliness can persist. With the hectic school day, it can be hard to find time to talk to other adults which in turn can leave us feeling isolated.
We can make progress on loneliness by working together.
At Pilgrims, we aim to develop a strong sense of community, for both our pupils and staff. Building a supportive network within school is vital for tackling loneliness and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of everyone within our community. We have our own Mental Health First Aider in school who, as part of our HR Department, works closely with staff who find they need extra support.
As teachers, we might find ourselves so busy throughout the school day that we forget to take a moment for ourselves. Here are some ways to avoid loneliness and protect your mental health:
- Don’t stay in your classroom all day, go to the staff room to chat to your colleagues.
- Talk to senior staff or management if you think something can be done to better support yours or your colleagues’ mental health.
- Share how you are feeling with those you trust, whether this is another member of staff at Pilgrims or a friend or family member.
- Make sure you plan time to see friends and family outside of work.
- Look out for others and offer them support when they need it.
If you feel you need additional support, Education Support provides resources and help for teachers. You can call free on 08000 562 561 to speak to a qualified counsellor for immediate support.