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How to promote wellbeing in schools

How to promote wellbeing in schools

Taking on the task of finding out how to promote wellbeing in schools can seem like a daunting undertaking.

While it certainly shouldn’t be taken lightly, the benefits far outweigh the difficulty. And once there’s a solid foundation and structure in place, it becomes easier and more manageable.

Promoting wellbeing is valuable for every person in the school. It helps support teachers and stakeholders in their daily lives. Even more importantly, it increases young people’s mental wellness and puts them on the right path toward a brighter future.

Miff Martinek, founder of This Is Me, discusses how a school can begin promoting wellbeing and how to overcome some of the challenges they may face.

We cover:

  • How can schools promote mental wellbeing?

  • How can you effectively share wellbeing messaging?

  • What challenges do schools face in promoting wellbeing?

  • How can my school get involved?

How can schools promote mental wellbeing?

If you're looking to promote wellbeing in schools, which, let's face it, absolutely everyone is, there needs to be a holistic approach that involves the whole school.

The focus should be on embedding the mental and social wellbeing of young people as well as teachers, parents, and all of your stakeholders in every element of school life.

The challenge here is that this feels like a huge task and a rather vague instruction. So, how do you break that down?

Well, the first step is that we need to have some clarity of what good wellbeing actually looks like. This can be an issue for school leaders because wellbeing looks different for every single person that you speak to.

Inevitably, there is never going to be a one size fits all approach. But what you can do is get a better understanding of what the common threads are by encouraging everyone in your community to take some personal accountability for their wellbeing.

When you encourage them to do that, they also need to have the skills to explore and identify what is important to them for their wellbeing. That ability helps everybody gain a better understanding of how to be in a good place both mentally and physically.

How can you effectively share wellbeing messaging?

If you want to learn how to share the wellbeing messaging throughout your school, it starts with developing some common threads and themes for all of your messaging.

Firstly, there needs to be some communication about what the goal is and what you're hoping to achieve for everyone in your community.

Your goals should be sensitive to the fact that everybody will be looking to improve their wellbeing in different areas. They should also include opportunities for everybody to participate in them.

Because everyone is unique, there should be more than one option available to help everybody reach those goals and to help them improve their mental wellness.

Lastly, everybody should have a chance to practice the skills needed to talk about mental health and wellbeing openly. They should be able to express when something has worked for them and when something hasn't worked as well.

Most importantly, young people should be encouraged and supported in communicating those moments when they are struggling.

What challenges do schools face in promoting wellbeing?

For one, students discussing their struggles can be challenging because you'll find that many of them are very keen to please. They want to tell you that the special wellbeing event that you put on was really good and effective. They might almost feel like they’re letting you down if they are still struggling.

There needs to be an environment where young people feel that they can talk about their wellbeing and understand that it's okay that it fluctuates. Everybody’s does. It doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with them or that they need a diagnosis, referral, or for it to become a big deal.

It can be a normal and sensible conversation that they can regularly have.

Another problem that you're going to face is that teachers are exceptionally busy people. To be able to reach everyone in your school community effectively, there has to be more than just a few teachers who are naturally drawn to having those conversations.

That's where our mentoring program really comes into its own.

Peer mentoring helps the whole school establish those skills of listening and understanding where someone is and how you can support them. You're embedding that into your pupils so that they will be able to take that forward to support their friends and family.

Young people will carry those skills into their future and probably have better lives because of what they've learned in their time at your school.

How can my school get involved?

Schools that are in a position to begin looking at embedding wellbeing in a way that gets everybody personally involved and accountable might be interested in the approach that our program takes.

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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