It goes without saying that the last year has been unlike any other for both teachers and students. A recent study by Education Support found that over half of the UK’s teachers felt their mental health and wellbeing had suffered as a result of Covid-19, while the pandemic has put huge pressure on many young people who were already struggling with their mental health.
As the old saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup!
At Yes Futures, we believe that for teachers to be able to provide wellbeing support to their students, they need to refill their own wellbeing mugs. That’s why, this Mental Health Awareness Week, we’ve gathered a range of resources designed to support both teacher and student mental health.
For free CPD training on supporting staff and student wellbeing, click here.
Connect with Nature
The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘nature’. Research by the Mental Health Foundation found that 45% of us felt that spending time in green spaces was vital for our mental health in 2020. As restrictions ease, let’s continue to appreciate and share the benefits of our natural world together!
By teaching students about the importance of nature at an early age, we can encourage them to appreciate the benefits in later life as well. Interestingly, research by UCL and the Wildlife Trusts found that 79% of children felt more confident in themselves after taking part in outdoor activities; a finding that we have definitely discovered through our Play Your Part and Into the Wild trips!
Here are some of our favourite resources shared over the past week:
Education Support have produced a guide on how to use nature to create a school environment that supports positive mental health.
Place2Be have shared some top tips on how to use nature to promote children’s mental health.
Coram suggest some excellent mental health activities involving nature, which can be done both at home and in the classroom.
Other resources to help you and your students’ mental health
The natural world can be a fantastic resource for protecting our mental health. But it’s important that we also explore other ways of looking after our wellbeing! We hope that the following ideas inspire you.
Mindfulness has become increasingly popular in recent years and is a brilliant tool to help staff and students to focus on the present moment and to better cope with negative emotions. Luckily, Headspace are currently offering their Headspace Plus package to teachers, school administrators, and supporting staff for free!
Calm also provide a range of tools to introduce mindfulness to students, including a series of lesson plans to teach students relaxation techniques, breathing exercises and meditations. They also provide a Self-Care Guide for Teachers, along with a 40% discount on Calm Premium!
Provide a listening ear
One of the best things we can do to support others is by reaching out to those who seem like they might be going through a difficult time. Here are some resources that might help you to do this with your students:
Mentally Healthy Schools: this blog post provides advice on how to start a conversation with children and young people about mental health.
BBC Teach: a collection of films and animations, tailored to primary and secondary school students, to promote mental wellbeing within the classroom and spark conversations about mental health.
MHFA England: a range of posters, graphics and other resources about how to talk to young people about mental health, self-care, and how to embed wellbeing within schools.
Youth MHFA One Day course: every secondary school in England is entitled to one free place on this course, which is designed to teach staff, volunteers and parents alike how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill-health.
Invest in your own wellbeing
At Yes Futures, we believe that a whole-school approach to wellbeing is vital. That’s why we’ve partnered with coaching organisation Animas to offer our Creating Space programme to teachers, headteachers, and senior leaders entirely for free.
Through the programme, you will receive six free one-to-one coaching sessions with a professional Coach. These sessions are designed to support your mental health by increasing your resilience and confidence and by learning coping strategies for stressful situations.
Encourage your students to look after their wellbeing
We know how important personal development and wellbeing are, but we understand that busy teachers often don't have the time to prepare resources that focus on these areas. Our free Resources for Teachers provide a series of worksheets, games and lesson plans to help students develop their confidence, resilience, communication and self-awareness skills – all of which are crucial to their overall mental wellbeing.
Our Teacher Guide to Coaching also provides ideas for how coaching can be incorporated into lesson plans, to encourage students to grow in confidence and boost their wellbeing.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of coaching for staff and students alike, why not join our coaching webinar on 19th May?
Run from 4:30-5:00pm, we will be providing you with the tools needed to embed a coaching approach in your school, to support staff and student wellbeing and to encourage personal development.
We believe it’s vital that every child and teacher is empowered to discover their full potential. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 07908 687779 to find out more about how we can support your students and teachers through our programmes and coaching sessions.