What is mental health awareness training for teachers?

Updated: Nov 19


What is mental health awareness training for teachers?

Mental health awareness has been growing for over twenty years now, and it continues to become a significant focus for schools. The problem is, awareness is only the first step. Learning how to talk about mental health, especially between teachers and pupils, is the next and most vital stage in the process towards a stronger support system for mental wellness. Miff Martinek, the founder of This-Is-Me.uk, explains what she and her team are doing to help start these conversations in schools to better prepare and support children in their shifting mental health needs.


We cover:

  • What does Mental Health Awareness for teachers mean?

  • Why do schools need to improve?

  • How can schools improve their approach?

  • How can schools get involved?



What does Mental Health Awareness for teachers mean?


When we look at mental health awareness in schools, particularly with teachers, we’re looking for teachers who feel comfortable and confident talking about mental health issues.


I really struggle with this concept of focusing on awareness because actually, what’s happened is we’ve been focusing on awareness since the 1990s. That was when Mental Health Awareness Day actually started.


But where we need to be now is getting some practical skills in place to have conversations about mental health comfortably. We should start working on that human connection rather than feeling like mental health is something that we need to escalate to a specialist or a mental health expert.



Why do schools need to improve?

There are a couple of reasons why we need to get better at having mental health conversations.


The first one is that, when we look at the resources that are available for those young people who may be struggling with their mental health, they’re really overwhelmed and overprescribed.

So that’s part of it.


On the flip side, the vast majority of problems that young people are facing today and that we’re all facing in general could be solved much sooner by having a good conversation. Having someone listening to you and being there for you in that moment before we get overwhelmed, before we feel like everything is just too much and we can’t cope makes a huge difference.



How can schools improve their approach?


Moving towards this sort of approach is going to take a bit of a switch in our attitude and our focus around mental health.


It’s no longer seeing how often we can run a special event to focus on mental health. It’s about learning the foundational skills of how to ask someone if they’re okay, and to know what to say when they’re not okay.


And it’s also about having the confidence to have those conversations more regularly.


For our teachers, this is so important because, more and more, they are taking on a pastoral role with every pupil that they come in contact with.



How can schools get involved?

If you are interested in mental health awareness training for teachers or looking at changing this approach to your mental health strategy and your well-being strategy within your school, please contact me.


Each term, I work with a very small handful of partner schools to help them really embrace the personal accountability that makes up the core of their well-being strategy.


If you want to explore how pupil mentoring can improve wellbeing in your school within the Hereford and Wiltshire area, I'd love to hear from you.

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