New Wellbeing Charter offers mental health support boost for school staff

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New Wellbeing Charter offers mental health support boost for school staff

Written by Scott Crichton on 12 May 2021

According to HSE statistics, there were 77,000 reported cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety (new or long-standing) in education in 2020, accounting for over half of all cases of ill health within the sector.

We are now part way through mental health week, and with the release of the Education Staff Wellbeing Charter on 10 May and the government’s announcement of a £17 million pot to improve mental health and wellbeing in the education sector, it seems that we are making positive strides when it comes to recognising, and tackling, the intense demands and pressures placed on those working in the field. As an added positive, this is likely to translate into a better environment for pupils and students, too.

With the conversation opening up, here’s a timely reminder of what we here at Ellis Whittam can do to support your Trust/school(s) when it comes to managing your various health and safety duties in relation to work-related stress, mental health and wellbeing. 

7 ways Ellis Whittam can support your school to manage work-related stress

  1. All our clients are assigned a dedicated, qualified Health & Safety Consultant with sector experience, who will get to know your Trust/school so that they can support you as an extension of your team. You can call on them, or our Helpdesk team, for practical advice on managing workplace stress, mental health and wellbeing and your duties as an employer, 24/7.
  2. Your named consultant can suggest useful resources for managing stress, mental health and wellbeing.
  3. We can help you to draw up a Stress Policy for your Trust/school, setting out your arrangements for managing this vitally important area. This can be added to the collection of policies that form your school’s general Health & Safety Policy, which we will produce for you when you join us.
  4. Through our online platform, MyEW, you can access a wealth of helpful materials, including a template Organisational Stress Risk Assessment which can be used to document the tools and measures your Trust/school has in place to manage organisational stress.
  5. You can also download Individual Stress Risk Assessment templates which can be used to facilitate a conversation with your employees. If you have any queries around completing these assessments and appropriate control measures, your consultant is just a phone call away.
  6. Our core Health & Safety service gives you 12 months’ free access to 100+ e-Learning courses, including Stress Management, and we can also deliver classroom-based Stress Awareness Training to give senior leadership teams and employees a clear understanding of the impacts of stress and equip them with stress management techniques.
  7. Finally, if you are keen to uncover employees’ perceptions of how health and safety is managed within your organisation, we can help to facilitate a climate survey which will enable you to better understand your strengths and opportunities.

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Don't forget the 5 ways to wellbeing

Whether you’re an Ellis Whittam client or not, you can always the advantage of the 5 ways to wellbeing. Researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation, these are five simple steps we can all take to improve our mental health:
  1. Connect – Human connections are vitally important, especially right now. Having lunch with a colleague or making time in an evening to sit down with your family can help us to build stronger, closer relationships.
  2. Take notice – Take in to your surroundings and pay attention to the present moment. Try taking a different route to work, decluttering your workspace, and tuning in to how your colleagues are feeling.
  3. Keep learning – As Henry Ford once said, “anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty of eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young”. Taking up learning opportunities inside and outside of work can be good for our self-esteem and social interaction.
  4. Be active – It’s well known that physical activity is a great mental health booster. Mental health charity Mind suggests walking to work, perhaps with a colleague, getting some fresh air on your lunch break, or simply doing some stretches before you leave in a morning.
  5. Give – It is statically proven that volunteering or giving something back improves our health and wellbeing and gives us a feel-good factor. Practice acts of kindness each day, even if it’s as small as saying thank you or really listening when we ask our colleagues how they are.
We recommend sharing these steps with your team or using them as a starting point for school-wide wellbeing initiatives. For more information, make sure to join our next Breakfast Briefing for School Leaders next month, where we will be taking a closer look at the topic of stress management.

Experts in education

If you are keen to develop your approach to health and safety and would benefit from additional, hands-on support with risk management and compliance, Ellis Whittam’s sector specialists can help. 

To find out how our unique four-pillar approach to health and safety management in schools can help you to stay on top of your responsibilities, save time, and keep staff and pupils safe, call 0345 226 8393 or request your free consultation using the button below.

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We combine the service quality of a law firm with the certainty of fixed-fee services to provide expert, solutions-focused Employment LawHR and Health & Safety support tailored to employers.

Call us on 0345 226 8393.

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