The slow chat offers an opportunity throughout the day for people to reflect, challenge, ask, share what I mention in this post based on the questions I am going to post here. I am NOT an expert on mental health, I am a person that suffers from the effects of my own undulating mental state at different periods of my life. I have blogged quite openly about this now for a number of years, taken part in projects looking at people who have ongoing unresolved issues, chatted to people at open events about it and also shared thoughts with others online.
So why do I think my perspective might help others at a teacher meeting aimed at well-being as a new school year starts. Why me to promote a discussion about mental health before term even begins?
In the media and through online networks mental health has become a much more openly discussed consequence of modern life and how we cope with it. Some people are never troubled, some can not work at all, some have problems from time to time. As edipucators we are increasingly seeing more signs of stress in our pupils and colleagues.
Some schools have very clear and explicit support mechanisms, sometimes these target both staff as a resource as well as students. Sometimes one group is dealt with more effectively. Sometimes it seems for some that it is an inconvenience and people should just snap out of it and get on with life. We can all cite differing views. I believe that students and staff both have needs in terms of support and understanding. My outspokenness in the minds of some former employers make me a thorn. I have a profile online for speaking out. It is not for selfish reasons although that could be aimed at me because my own mental wellbeing is of course on my agenda.
So if this is an issue for you here are five questions that I will put out throughout the 31 August;
Q1 Are you aware of mental health being an obstacle for some students and /or colleagues? How are you aware?
Q2 Do mental health matters impact on you personally? If so, how? (Please set own limits on openness in an open conversation)
Q3) Does your work place have an explicit structure to support mental health? Is it a common policy for all?
Q4) How do you think mental health can/should be discussed openly within the workplace?
Q5) How can online networks support staff especially in having a supportive ear at times of need?
Following chat convention when answering a particular question please put A1… For the number question that you are answering.
I have participated previously in the Mindshackles project led by Iesha Small. This helped me to vent some of my thoughts over time although it was misquoted back at me by a member of SLT during an attendance review. I have blogged extensively through this blog and also on Staffrm about my own struggles. I tweet and and share on Facebook and LinkedIn and belong to a group called #BDamigos who reach out to each other.
It I look forward to leading a conversation about being a mental health sufferer and how we make it work for us or alternatively why it isn’t or hasn’t worked for us. It will be a session where sensitivity to others is key as there may be very personal sharing. I look forward to meeting all or anyone that attends. It is the first time I have set out an explicit session as a sufferer so I am intrigued about what the response will be.
I hope this post has whetted your appetite, provoked some thoughts, made you want to share. If interested what I have posted previously please see the index on this blog for my mental health posts.
Responses, comments on here or through other online channels are welcomed.