Mental Health- a taboo?
Mental health - what a very sensitive, yet current topic. It is so important that we continue to speak about mental health and encourage our peers and students to discuss this openly too.
What is mental health?
Many people are scared of using this term when referring to themselves when in fact we should embrace the phrase and own it. Mental health is described as the way in which we feel, act or think, this can be a result of an event that has happened in our lives; everyone responds to these events or changes in various ways. Our mental health includes our overall and general well-being, we all have moments when we experience a range of emotions and everyone responds to these emotions and feelings differently. We as a society, need to keep talking about our mental health and wellbeing in order to change the attitude towards it from a negative to a positive. There is a very thin line between mental health and a mental illness and without ongoing discussions around these, the negative stigma attached to mental health will remain.
The pandemic and mental health
A ‘global pandemic’, a phrase many had never used before; the new norm we are all trying to adapt to. What a surreal moment in history we are currently in; it has been tough and confusing; for some, it has been a blessing and for others it has been torture. We should all be proud of what we have and are still going through, it’s been eye-opening in many ways and I’m sure we have learnt so much about ourselves.
Over the past year, I have heard so many people talk about their mental health whether that be directly or indirectly. I’m sure we can all say that the changes, restrictions and confusion around Covid-19 has made us feel some type of way. We are humans after all! Think about all the remote learning, well-being calls, Zoom meetings, teaching in masks, Covid testing in school and all the other joys which were never part of our teacher training. We have all had to adapt and yes we do it with a smile, but for many, these are quite traumatic and big changes. The power of reaching out and talking is so important as we need this to deal with the day-to-day struggles and challenges working in schools brings and this was important before the pandemic, so it is even more so vital that we have a network of support to get us through the days.
It really has been hard watching the impact the pandemic has had on our students, their families and colleagues. Working in a special school for children with social, emotional and mental health needs has taught me a lot and I have seen and experienced first-hand how the changes and restrictions surrounding Covid-19 has damaged part of my community. On the other hand, I have also seen such amazing efforts gone into making a difference and helping others pull through this difficult time, where learning was not always the priority. I’ve seen a needed shift in approaches where mental wellbeing has been at the forefront of decisions made as we have begun to realise how important this is for us all.
Ways to maintain mental health and wellbeing
Walking – this has been my saviour and makes such a difference
Eating healthy foods
Spending time with friends and family
Writing down feelings when you feel you cannot talk about them
Talking about your feelings
Start a hobby
Set realistic goals
Mental health and wellbeing support
https://www.kooth.com/ - online support, including live chats and journal writing
https://youngminds.org.uk/ - charity that supports young people
https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/for-children-and-young-people/ - support for children ages 11-18
https://www.place2be.org.uk/ - support for educations and parents, currently offering free online training
https://www.educationsupport.org.uk/ - support for educators
https://www.headspace.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIs4WRh4ux8AIVzNPtCh19lQUZEAAYASAAEgKByvD_BwE - meditation and wellbeing support through an app
https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/nhs-voluntary-charity-services/nhs-services/children-young-people-mental-health-services-cypmhs-parents-carers-information/#:~:text=YoungMinds%20offers%20free%20confidential%20online,to%20the%20age%20of%2025.&text=The%20charity%20also%20has%20information%20for%20parents%20and%20carers%20about%20mental%20health. - support for parents and carers
Let’s keep talking about mental health and use it to our advantage to help us strive and overcome obstacles, let’s not use it as an excuse.
Remember: You are amazing, you are strong, your best is yet to come, keep pushing through, start everyday a fresh and keep shining!