World Mental Health Care Day – How to create a more supportive workplace – Paul Drew

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Today is World Mental Health Care Day.

58% of UK workers wouldn’t be comfortable telling their manager about mental health issues.

HR course provider DPG Plc have investigated the attitudes to mental health and found 85% of those surveyed felt there is a stigma attached to mental health issues in the workplace. Whilst over a quarter of those surveyed admitted to skipping work for mental health issues and feeling uncomfortable disclosing the details, only 20% of believed their managers would be equipped to support them even if they had been truthful. In response to these worrying statistics, DPG  have partnered with Tom Oxley of Bamboo Mental Health to offer a few tips on how managers can create a more openly supportive workplace culture

Courtesy of the DPG blog, by Paul Drew:

This year’s World Mental Health Day theme is mental health in the workplace. In light of this, we wanted to conduct some research of our own into workplace attitudes towards these issues. Our main aim was to gauge how workers feel about their working environment, and whether they are confident about receiving the support they need if they experience an issue.

Our findings were a little disappointing, and certainly highlight a need for changes in the way our nation’s workplaces deal with issues such as stress, anxiety and mental illness. Our findings also highlight an issue with perception – something this article will try to tackle.

Identifying a problem
One of the most shocking findings was that 85% of UK workers thought there was a stigma attached to mental health issues in the workplace. This illustrates how hard it is for workers to open up about potential mental health issues. Those suffering are likely to feel isolated and dejected, so to feel as if seeking help may only marginalise them further is a truly desperate situation.

This stigma may explain our finding that 58% of workers wouldn’t be comfortable telling their manager if they were suffering from a mental health issue. This means that over half of the country would suffer in silence should they face one of the toughest challenges.

Another reason that managers may be being kept at arm’s length with these issues is that just 20% of workers thought their manager was fully equipped to support mental health issues in the workplace.

When we asked Tom Oxley – lead consultant and relationship director at Bamboo Mental Health – about the problem facing some workplaces today, he said: “Despite wonderful awareness campaigns, stigma is alive and well when it comes to mental health at work. Stigma comes from within individuals, or it can be nurtured by some organisations. Make no mistake; subject knowledge has improved but there’s a chasm between awareness and action for many employers.

“Six out of ten [of those currently suffering] aren’t saying anything to their manager. That means they’re working unwell and not getting support. That means the team performance may be impaired.”

Identifying a solution
So, what can managers and workplaces do to mitigate this issue and create a more open and supportive atmosphere? And how can they make seeking support seem like an attractive, positive move instead of a potentially destructive action?

With the help of some of our tutors and Tom Oxley from Bamboo Mental Health, we’ve assembled a few tips to help move towards a more openly supportive workplace culture.

  1. “Managers need to build the trust and rapport between themselves and their team.”
    Without trust, and without the social bond that makes trust possible, it can be hard to share weekend plans with managers, let alone serious health issues. Whilst a manager’s role is to ensure the delivery of a process, service or similar, it is also their responsibility to motivate and inspire staff. Getting the most from staff members isn’t simply about working them hard.
  2. “Managers need training to rehearse what to say, when to step in, and how to support individuals.”
    Appropriate training and feeling equipped to deal with serious health issues can be a daunting prospect even for seasoned managers. Specialised training is available and is a valuable tool in the manager’s repertoire, not only for helping to mitigate issues but also for noticing them, and approaching them with tact.
  3. “Managers need to be trained and supported by HR and leadership teams.”
    As above, training needs to be made available for managers. HR and leadership teams need to take the initiative and responsibility to implement this, however.
  4. “Managers need to be human in their response to the subject.”
    This ensures that the worker is allowed to feel human despite their issue. Many sufferers of stress, anxiety or mental health issues feel that they are in some way flawed or different to the rest of society, so it’s imperative they are helped to feel normal, and that it is ‘okay to not be okay’. Expanding the point, Tom Oxley said “managers with personal or lived experience of mental ill health tend to be better equipped with the language around mental health”.
  5. “Managers need to be empowered to make adjustments.”
    Helping the employee deal with their workload and focus on getting better can have a great effect on making them feel supported and relieving pressure. Setting more appropriate working hours and targets is a great place to start. However, genuinely being able to make these adjustments is crucial – particularly without drawing too much attention or encountering red tape.

Looking forward
This year’s World Mental Health Day is set to cast mental health in the workplace into sharp focus. Hopefully, with this comes serious change. We believe that the majority of workplaces across the nation are becoming more accepting, supportive places to work but that, whilst they have come a long way, there’s still work to be done.

Not only do our courses provide an incredible toolset for HR and leadership teams to be able to deal with such sensitive issues, they also make it easy to pass these skills down the line in an organisation, so that all levels can feed into a more supportive working culture.

Original Post
https://www.dpgplc.co.uk/2017/10/mental-health-issues-anxiety-stress-create-supportive-workplace/

Helpful links:
UK charity Mind: https://www.mind.org.uk/
World Health Organisation: http://www.who.int/mental_health/world-mental-health-day/2017/en/
Mental Health Foundation: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/world-mental-health-day

Educational Leadership: Teachers as Leaders – Kevin Nelson

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Why is it important to have teacher leaders in our schools?

(Source: https://pixabay.com/en/student-professor-uni-books-study-2052868/)

Teacher leadership refers to those instructors who not only teach in class but also assume administrative roles to facilitate school development. What is this all about? And why is this important? This article will delve deeper into this topic.

Why Teacher Leadership?

Teachers tend to stay longer in schools than administrators – Many times you’ll find that administrators tend to remain in their positions for about 3-4 years, while teachers remain for a longer time. School districts that desire improvement thus need to encourage teacher leaders since they’re best placed to complete long-term projects.

Principals’ expertise is limited – Most principals have their particular areas of instructional expertise. Individual teachers also have their specific areas of expertise; however, a group of teacher leaders can provide a wide range of expertise required for continuous school improvement.

Demands of the modern day principal are essentially difficult to meet – Nowadays principals are relied upon to be visionaries and capable managers in addition to instructional leaders. Also, the principal is the go-to person for accountability obligations set by the government and is accountable to the different stakeholders. With these many responsibilities, most administrators can’t allocate enough time to school improvement (75% of principals said in a 2012 survey that their jobs had become complex).

Skills and Qualities of Teacher Leaders

There are 2 types of teacher leaders: formal and informal

(Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/portrait-of-young-woman-against-white-background-325924/)

 Here, there are two kinds of roles:

Formal teacher leaders – This teacher occupies positions like master teacher and departmental chair. These teachers apply for their positions. They’re trained for the new responsibilities. In several schools, they manage curriculum projects and conduct workshops.

Informal teacher leaders – They emerge unexpectedly from the teacher ranks. Rather than being selected, they step up to address an issue or come up with another program. They have no positional authority and are respected by their colleges as a result of their expertise.

Good teacher leaders should collaborate with their colleagues to support their vision and persuade others regarding the significance of what they are proposing and the practicality of their plans for improvement.

Successful teacher leaders are liberal and respect other peoples’ views. They are confident, enthusiastic and optimistic. They persevere and don’t allow obstacles to derail a major project they’re initiating. Then again, they’re flexible and willing to try an alternate approach if the first one fails.

Many qualities of good teacher leaders are basically the same as those of good teachers, that is, open-mindedness, confidence, adaptability and persuasiveness. Regardless of these similarities, working with colleagues is not the same as working with students. To assume a position of authority, they may require skills in assessment design, data analysis, and curriculum planning, among others. They might likewise need to develop excellent listening skills, conduct meetings, settle on a course of action and keep track of any progress.

Conditions that Promote Teacher Leadership

There are various conditions necessary for facilitating teacher leadership in schools

(Source: https://pixabay.com/en/smiling-teacher-female-college-1280975/)

Few schools are receptive to the rise of teacher leaders, especially informal ones. School administrators play a vital role part in creating the conditions suitable for facilitating teacher leadership:

Opportunities to acquire leadership skills – The skills needed for teacher leadership aren’t part of the teacher’s preparation program. If teacher leaders are to rise and make their full contribution, they require opportunities to learn the required skills of tasks like instructional improvement, curriculum planning, assessment design, and facilitation. Teachers who want to be teacher leaders can acquire these skills via school-level professional development. However, they can likewise learn these skills via district-wide or university-based courses and various workshops. Whichever the choice, opportunities must be accessible and convenient for teachers to make the most of – a survey was done in the US whereby more than 4200 teachers and principals participated revealed that 25% of teachers had taken on a teacher leader role.

A suitable environment for one to take risks – Teachers should be confident that they won’t be criticized for communicating ideas that may seem strange at first. School administrators should ensure that it’s safe for teachers to express their thoughts freely and take professional risks.

 School administrators who encourage teacher leaders – The development of teacher leaders depends upon the administrators’ will to encourage them. They (administrators) ought to be proactive in assisting teachers to acquire the skills required to make the most out of opportunities for leadership (conducting meetings among others). However, some administrators tend not to do so, fearing that determined teacher leaders might undermine their authority.

Consequently, you might find that most good teachers leave the profession within the first 5 years. This high turnover rate cost the US more than $7 billion yearly!

Conclusion

The above are points that support this issue of teacher leadership. It’s an idea whose time has come, and we should embrace it.

If you have problems with writing a thesis statement or you require essay writing services, you can seek assistance from your respective teachers.

Author’s Bio:

Kevin Nelson is a professional educator and a private tutor with over 8 years of experience. He is also a content writer for various blogs about higher education, entertainment, social media & blogging. During his off time,

Kevin enjoys traveling and cooking. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter, Linkedin & Google+.

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