Friday Insights (11th October)

11 October 2019

Thursday October 10th was World Mental Health Day, which meant that loads of brilliant people were sharing their different perspectives on mental health, and how mental health issues can manifest themselves in different ways. We absolutely loved how open and honest so many people were about the general state of mental health, and about their own struggles with it. Long may this calibre of dialogue continue!

Let’s kick off with a quick roundup on what our project partners were saying about mental health, yesterday and every day:

  • Big Change alum The Key shared how some of their young people used their social action framework to better understand the depression and isolation that members of their community are dealing with, and the solution they came up with to try to help. Who doesn’t want a bag of happiness? And is someone chopping an onion in here?! *sniff*
  • NCS have released a blog series around the issues young people face in their mental health, including firsthand accounts from NCS participants about how they navigate social anxiety, loneliness and depression.
  • EasyPeasy have shared some helpful resources to help us keep the mental health conversation going in the early years environment – because mental health does not discriminate against age.
  • The Director of Programmes from The Difference, Shaun Brown, wrote an article highlighting the need for trauma-aware practice, which empowers teachers to best support their students who may be struggling with mental health difficulties. And the best place to learn about this important practice? Inside Pupil Referral Units, of course!
  • Bounce Forward supports mental health through teaching resilience, a skill which their Healthy Minds research shows has impact on life satisfaction and global health.

We understand that bringing about change for and with young people is rewarding and often difficult work, which is why we want to highlight another mental health topic – looking after the mental health of those working to set young people up to thrive through our education and learning system. This includes our pioneering project partners – because as Good Finance points out, “running a social business is arguably harder, since founders tend to put intense pressure on themselves to sustain the pace for other people’s benefit”.  In order for us to work together to bring about a new common sense in education, we need to be looking our for ourselves and for each other. 

This is also true, of course, for our teachers – we’re proud to have supported Ambition Institute, Whole Education and Achievement for All in their work to make sure teachers work in an environment where they can be well. We’ve made impressive progress in raising awareness for mental health in general in recent years, especially for our educators, but with 40% of new teachers leaving the profession within 5 years of qualifying, it’s evident that we still have some learning to do.

Have a great weekend, and be kind to yourselves!