October 7, 2021
Being a Senior Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead can require the wearing of many metaphorical hats. The role itself has a varied remit and this may be combined with other responsibilities such as teaching, pastoral support or leadership responsibilities.
This may seem like a vast, overwhelming range of varied tasks, that require different skills, knowledge and abilities. You may not feel like you are getting anywhere or that you are up to the job. We know you can do it! And have some tips and advice to support you.
We have developed our Discovery Workshop for Mental Health and Wellbeing Leads to discover ways they can support pupil, staff and whole school mental health and wellbeing.
Working on the responsibilities and duties of a Designated Mental Health Lead can feel especially daunting if you only have a limited amount of time per week to work on these duties and tasks or if you are a new in post Designated Mental Health Lead.
These feelings of overwhelm and confusion can leave you feeling unproductive, like you are faffing or even at worst panicking. Resulting in a feeling or perception that you are maybe not making much progress toward your overall goal of whole school mental health and wellbeing. This feeling not only impacts on your productivity and motivation, but it also could have a negative impact on your own levels of wellbeing. Not only is that counterproductive, but it also contradicts the very need for your role in the first place. We are here to help support you address these feelings and apply strategies that help you feel more productive.
As a School Mental Health Lead, you are really important! We think you are worth investing in and supporting. We know you are important as your role has a significant impact on the wellbeing of all the pupils, staff and whole school community now and in future. Your work can result in a positive ripple effect of wellbeing improvements led and implemented by you. This positive ripple effect can impact to hundreds if not thousands of children, young people, and families. That is amazing and impressive, we want to support you to keep up this important work.
As the Designated Mental Health Lead, it is important that you look after your own wellbeing. You have a responsibility to role model wellbeing and what that looks like to other staff members and pupils. Because of this, we think it is important to look after you and that you access support yourself. This could be from peers who are in the same position as you in other schools or from companies like us.
Gain Peer Support Now
To support you, Worth-it are providing support for Designated Mental Health Leads, through our Free Online Community.
It may feel like everyone around you is in panic mode because of the constant change. Maybe they are paralysed to make decisions or support you implement projects and decisions you have made due to this state of panic. This may make you feel like you are getting nowhere.
You may have allocated time for planning or developing support for pupil mental health or staff wellbeing. You may feel this is constantly being eaten into by having to adapt to changes and challenges. This can be exhausting and frustrating. Feeling like you are fire fighting rather than getting anywhere.
However, the state of panic and paralysis is not permanent, in time it will pass and things will get moving quickly again. One helpful strategy to help you maintain motivation even despite constant change, setbacks and challenges is to recognise the marginal gains you have made. 'Marginal gains' is a term developed to acknowledge that it’s the tiny tweaks, amendments and baby steps forward that contribute to success.
Take a moment to reflect on what you have done. What shifts, no matter how small, have happened? How have they made a difference and supported people? What was your role in contributing towards that? You may have thought it was nothing, that anyone would do that, but they would not. You did that. You made that difference. Acknowledge these achievements and recognise the distance you have already travelled. There is a reason why you are the Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead, take time to remember and acknowledge this.
What small steps forward (even the tiniest ones) are you making on your journey towards developing whole school mental health and wellbeing. How have these made a difference?
Could you use this time to learn more or plan more so that when the time is right you are ready to implement your ideas? They will need to be supported to recover from the impact of all this change.
We have a simple tip for you to help you remain productive and focus on the things that will make the biggest difference in your school and maintain your own levels of wellbeing at the same time.
The 80-20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, is a principle which suggests that 80% of outcomes (or outputs) result from 20% of all causes (or inputs) for any given event. The goal of the 80-20 rule is to identify inputs that are potentially the most productive and make them the priority. For instance, once Mental Health Leads identify factors that are critical to the success of their whole school approach, they can give those factors the most focus. The reality of the situation is that most results that contribute towards whole school mental health and wellbeing, will come from a minority of causes.
Time is your most precious resource. You only have the same amount of time each day, there is a difference between being busy and being productive. Perhaps you are feeling very busy providing all the support for children and young people without feeling you are being very productive towards your overall goal of school mental health and wellbeing. Applying the 80-20 rule will hopefully allow you to stay focused on the most productive tasks and responsibilities that will make the biggest difference to the wellbeing and mental health of pupils and staff in your school.
As Worth-it specialises in using coaching to support the development of whole school mental health and wellbeing, we have provided a simple coaching exercise that will help you apply the 80-20 rule. This will help you reduce feelings of overwhelm. As well as supporting you to remain productive and keep making progress towards achieving your goals.
The purpose of this exercise is to identify your top 20% priority tasks that will help you work towards your whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing.
Step 1 - Write a list of 10 goals you would like to achieve by the end of the academic year regarding whole school mental health and wellbeing.
Step 2 - Then identify the top number one goal you would like to achieve and would make the most difference to pupils. For example, this may be a staff inset day about pupil mental health and wellbeing or improving relationship and connection between staff and pupils.
Step 3 - Repeat this process identifying the 2nd most important goal.
Step 4 - These two goals are your top 20%. Write them down, put them somewhere visible so that you can remain focused on them every day, every week and every term.
Step 5 - Take positive steps forward towards this goal on a daily or weekly basis. Create regular opportunities to focus on these two goals. Focusing on only two should help you feel like you are making progress and reduce procrastination, stress and feeling of being overwhelmed.
Step 6 - Regularly stop and reflect on what you have achieved on a regular basis. It is important to recognise how far you have come, acknowledge and celebrate your successes. No matter how small they may seem, they all add up to a big change.
If you are working with someone on this, do this step together. On a regular basis stop and celebrate successes and achievements no matter how small. These may feel and insignificant but what you focus on grows so focus on the wins and they will grow and build momentum. This step only takes a few moments but can make a massive difference to your own levels of productivity and wellbeing.
We hope you found this article helpful.
Reflecting on this article...
What have you found most helpful?
What will you put into action to help you to remain focus on your goals as a Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead?
We are here to help. Having worked with over 170 schools in the last two years, we have supported them by delivering a range of positive mental health and wellbeing programmes and interventions.
We can help you, please get in touch to arrange a brief assessment with one of our expert consultants and discuss your school's individual needs and how we can support your school and staff effectively manage the impact that change is having on your staff, pupils and school.
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