Partnership formed to
tackle growing mental health and wellbeing issues faced by educators
LAST week Edge Hill University in partnership with the
Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) union held the 1st of 6
workshops designed to address the growing mental health challenges facing
education staff and students across the North West.
The Mental Health for Education workshops have been developed in partnership by
Edge Hill, the ATL and Everton in the Community in response to the increasing
stress placed on educators to address mental health issues being experienced by
students, often without any professional training or appropriate qualification
to do so.
A recent report co-commissioned by the ATL identified the expectations placed on
teachers to meet the:- 'time bomb of mental health problems' (NSPCC, 2015) among
pupils as the most common and concerning issue currently facing educational
professionals across the UK.
The pressure on teachers to manage student wellbeing is staggering, with the ATL
report highlighting that 1 in 10 young people aged between 5 to 16 experience a
clinically diagnosable mental illness, with 50% of all adult mental illnesses
(excluding dementia) being first experienced during school years at the age 14,
and 75%k by age 18.
Jon Jones, Partnership Development and Engagement Manager and member of Edge
Hill's Faculty of Education and Department of Sport and Physical Activity said
the workshops are the first step in improving the wellbeing of staff and
students across the North West. "There is a growing concern regarding the
mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, but also of the
educational professionals who are often viewed as responsible for dealing with
their pupil's mental health and wellbeing, as well as their own.
The 6 consultation events we have developed as a result of the partnership
between Edge Hill University, ATL and Everton in the Community offer a great
opportunity for us to gather evidence on the day to day real world challenges
currently being faced by educational professionals. Understanding the needs and
challenges related to mental health, wellbeing and education will provide us
with an opportunity to not only inform policy and practice, but to work with
schools to provide support and training to develop school approaches to mental
health and wellbeing and professionals understanding and skills to deal with
mental health issues." Jon said.
ATL general secretary, Dr Mary Bousted, said the North West conferences will
lead the Union's initiatives and actions across the UK. "ATL is
delighted to be a partner in such an important project training and giving
education staff the confidence to speak out about mental health issues whether
it's in the classroom or the staff room.
We are determined to stamp out the stigma around mental ill health that is
preventing young people and education professionals from tackling this crisis.
ATL's crucial work in the North West will be rolled out across the country to
ensure that our members can support each other and the young people in their
classrooms to improve discussions and take action on mental ill health."
Once the workshops are completed, the Mental Health for Education partnership
hopes to have identified common experiences and best practice to inform future
school approaches to the mental health and wellbeing of staff and pupils.
The working group also hopes to inform the current and future policy landscape
for mental health and education by producing research data on educational
professionals' needs, and the impact of workplace pressures on their mental
health and work life.