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07-03-2019 - Admin - 0 comments
It Is OK To Talk About Mental Health

Since beginning my role as Business Development and Safeguarding Officer at Education Supply Pool I have been asked about sharing some thoughts and offering advice through periodical blogs on certain subjects that may be of interest to candidates and our partner schools.

Today is #Worldmentalhealthday and the announcement that the Conservative Government in Westminster have appointed a minister for suicide prevention as the government hosts the first ever global mental health summit seems as good a starting place.

Mental health is becoming a huge issue in education and head teachers and senior managers are dealing with ever increasing issues through monitoring and managing situations with pupils and parents, their staff and members of the wider school community. This support is often offered without any specific training and is reliant on the breadth of experience of staff members and can sometimes be more challenging than most issues faced daily.

As someone having experienced mental health issues as an offshoot of a chronic illness, I found difficulty in managing the day to day intensity of headship with the demands of my diabetes. There was a surge in my cortisol levels that contributed to a plethora of problems which included increased anxiety and lack of sleep, leading to exhaustion and low mood.

I was aware that this condition was having a negative effect on my performance and noticed that pupils, parents and staff, who had become reliant on my calm management were becoming uneasy and began to doubt my judgement. It was a strange feeling having to come to terms with the notion that after fourteen years in headship I was no longer able to confidently do the job that I had coveted for so long. My decision to consult with the Local Authority as to my fitness for work undoubtedly saved me from long term illness. I later found out that colleagues in my cluster had been concerned about me for some time but due to my resilience and stoicism in facing each challenge did not know how to tackle the matter. Little did I know at that time that I would not return to school.

Thankfully after a period of recovery I am now able to return to support staff and school in this new capacity with Education Supply Pool and Cariad Training.

While developing our training portfolio with Cariad were are pleased to be working with Joe Williams who provides us with our Understanding Mental Health training.

Joe's interest in this area was instigated during his classroom experience as a teacher. His recent studies at masters level has enabled him to further develop the theoretical side and is now able to disseminate this as a whole school approach. His open and honest approach to this subject is becoming very popular amongst schools and his expertise and knowledge is invaluable in supporting staff.

One in Four pupils may develop mental illness at some point during their lifetime. Welsh Government are in the process of setting guidelines for schools to undertake mental health training. Health and Wellbeing features prominently in Donaldson's proposals for Successful Futures,

Joe's training in the form of a practical toolkit to understanding mental health in both adults and children. The intended outcome will equip participants to recognise the symptoms associated with mental health issues and suggest strategies to access further support via a graduated response. The stigma of Mental Health needs to be broken and now is the time to learn and understand it and remember... ‘IT'S OK TO TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH.'

If you want to know more about this training, or to book places for your staff, school or cluster you can do so by contacting me at the Office 01633546100 or e-mail me at

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