Mental Health Day: 5 Ways To Reach Out

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Lynn How

Lynn is the Editor at Teacher Toolkit. With 20 years of primary teaching and SLT experience, she has been an Assistant Head, Lead Mentor for ITT and SENCO. She loves to write and also has her own SEMH and staff mental health blog: Lynn...
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Would you be comfortable seeking support in your setting?

Mental health in education is high on everyone’s agenda, but actually actioning positive steps towards supporting our own mental health often takes a backseat.

I’ve heard of so many instances where teachers have not taken early action to avoid burnout and mental health issues. Some have taken a lot of time to recover, and others have never returned to the profession. This is despite the issue starting as environmental stress.

Let’s focus on how we can help ourselves to avoid any issue.

What can you do?

1. Catch it before it becomes an issue. Make a note of your behaviours that you think will happen before they do. This will help you know what to look out for. Sometimes we forget to take notice of these minor signs and we don’t seek support until we can’t function. If you’re not sure, learn more about the signals and keep them close by to refer to.

2. Ask friends to look out for signs of burnout and do the same for them. It may be that others spot your signs quicker than you do. Give those around you permission to mention something …

3. Stop masking. It’s so easy to pretend we are okay. I’ve employed my ‘fixed grin’ many times. We very rarely take our masks off at work. Find a trusted colleague to speak to. You will no doubt be met with support and solidarity.

4. Seek support from outside school. Friends and family in your life would hate to think you are suffering. Use them for their intended purpose. They want to be supportive.

5. Positive self-talk. Talk to yourself like you would your best friend. What would you tell them to do? You wouldn’t tell them to put up with it and get on with it, so please don’t talk to yourself like that.

If you need to seek further help, Education Support is always there to listen.

Build those support networks around you and identify key individuals from friends and family. Let’s make talking about our own mental health a higher priority.


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