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Every teacher must be trained in mental health first aid, academy chain says

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. Grandsire

    Grandsire Senior commenter

    With a little extra training, I could probably do dental work and minor surgery for the children in my class, too. The trouble is that I probably wouldn't be very good at it, and might be reasonably expected to do more harm than good.

    Why is it considered okay to expect teachers to offer mental health support and not extract the odd tooth or set broken bones?

    And what are the other 31 children supposed to do while I'm dealing with one child's dental extraction or mental health issue?

    I just want to be a teacher! I want to educate, not medicate, heal or offer therapy. I want to reveal the mysteries of division, explain the magical evaporation process and inspire a love of poetry, amongst a million other things that I already do.

    I didn't sign up to solve all of society's problems!
  2. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    Yes, but think of the extra cash you could make offering Orthodontics in your garden shed after work.:)
    galerider123 likes this.
  3. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

    £420,000 divided by 25 is £16,800 per school. Assuming that a secondary would need more training (higher numbers of staff) than a primary, about £12,000 per primary and £22,000 per secondary? (Or perhaps £10,000 and £24,000)
    I don't know why I felt the need to work that out.
  4. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Then you need to find a society which isn't screwed up to go and work in :) Let us know when you find it.
  5. ladyhawk

    ladyhawk New commenter

    Prior to teaching I was a mental health nurse for two decades - three years of training, but plus further training on the job. Amateur mental health professionals can do incredible harm to a vulnerable person going through a mental crisis. Despite being a mental health specialist, I have never had this skill set used by a school; they would much rather use their 'intervention worker' - often a former TA. Instead of asking teachers to be a 'jack of all trades' the government needs to increase the budget available to the mental health service. I left nursing because increasingly we were being squeezed out and replaced by cheaper health care workers with NVQ qualifications. I have now left teaching because of being squeezed out by cheaper teaching colleagues and cover supervisors. I sit at home, a qualified teacher and mental health professional with no job prospects. How does that make sense?
  6. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    E-Act - one of the MATs with historic finance issues.
    E-Act - one of the MATs where there are now very few TAs employed.
    E-Act - one of the MATs to avoid.
    I speak from experience.
  7. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I do enough.. . I care about mental health but I do not have the time. Do the decent thing and hire in professionals.
  8. drek

    drek Lead commenter

    My dilemma is this......the people whom they are asking me to undergo training about might well become future leaders a la Trump, Gove et al....

    Is this about ensuring that my training includes how to encourage students to uphold these people as ‘role models’ to aspire to?

    On my own unpaid hours. Because like everything else I imagine this training will take place on the day they give me 210 students with issues they’ve identified as mental health associated of which I’ve got to get half or more to ‘national average’ in their GCSEs, whether they can read, write or not as the case may be....

    On this same day they will then show me a list of strategies which I should show evidence of using......they forget to tally teacher time against this of course......and conveniently subject content and it’s prework time is glossed over entirely..... that's the least important bit.....the bit that causes their peers to become mentally stressed..............

    That’s what’s wrong with our system......A person who has 5 Sen students a week has been given the power to order others with far more on how many hours of extra work they want to see evidence of.....!

    Pupil premium attracts extra funding so suddenly I’ve got 70% of pp in my groups.........

    The associated pay rise with the extra funding is given to someone who makes a ‘speech’ once a term/year......about how to show a 70% increase in workload with no pay rise attached....only condemnation to look forward too.....sorry I forgot to use this years correct keywords
    feedback reflective review growth mindset and meaningful discussions in my 20 minute lunch breaks a day.

    The rest to be done at home.....goes without saying naturally......

    I don’t mind if they get University trained and experienced psychologists to identify the students.

    But it will be in house training by yet another bunch of quacks who purport to be experts in everything after a day of training by the king of quacks.....some education consultant or the other.......
    slingshotsally and Alice K like this.
  9. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    Well done that academy, its good to see some Education providers are keeping up with the rest of the business world. Mental health awareness is something taken very seriously by many major organisations because they realise the impact it can have and the cost it can have on employees' health and production.

    There is no need for every teacher to be trained but a number of adult (perhaps even older students) mental health first aiders is very important. My current "non-teaching" employer pushes such training and I am intending to take this up.

    Two other points.

    A mental heath first aider is not a replacement for a trained counsellor, but a first step or "sign post" to more help in the same way a physical first aider is not a replacement for A & E.

    The Good Samaritan rule is tested every time a first aider responds and stays within the limits of their training. If not organisations such as: St John's, Read Cross, RNLI, mountain rescue teams , etc would be unable to exist.
    slingshotsally and TCSC47 like this.
  10. stevewaters17

    stevewaters17 New commenter

    I founded the Teach Well Alliance in May to support the wellbeing of teachers and enable schools to identify causes of excessive workload and stress and take action to address them (www.teachwellalliance.com). My concern is that, if teachers are suffering from mental ill-health themselves, they will not be able to support their pupils or to help one another. The approach of the Teach Well Alliance is that mental wellbeing should be the concern of the whole school community, involving teachers, support staff, pupils and parents. Our starting point is the well being of teachers. Visit Tapton School’s website as an example of a school which is adopting our approach and trialling our Teach Well Toolkit.
    slingshotsally likes this.
  11. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Lead commenter

    Mrs. TCSC is an experienced community mental health nurse in our crisis team so I have had the benefit of her knowledge over the years. In this initiative, the important thing would be for the teacher to simply recognise any mental health problems in school, absolutely no more, and pass them onto an appropriately and extensively qualified mental health nurse.

    I think the problem here is that the term "first aid" has been used. If anybody is suggesting that teachers, many of whom are on the edge themselves, should actually practice the mental health "first aid" then that is clearly a very dangerous thing to promote.
    sophrysyne and slingshotsally like this.
  12. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Lead commenter

    But I always remember one of her comments. We have specially trained and qualified mental health workers for children because "it can be difficult to tell if they are acting out or not".

    So if the qualified and experienced mental health workers have problems understanding children, what does that say about what teachers have to deal with everyday !?
  13. sophrysyne

    sophrysyne New commenter

    Is professional indemnity insurance also on offer in case a well-intentioned mental-health 'first-aider' is deemed liable for exacerbating a condition?
  14. mmm...Milk

    mmm...Milk New commenter

    Mental health first aid is about knowing what questions to ask and how to respond. It's having the courage to say "are you thinking of taking your own life?" and if they say yes, asking if they have a plan. It's then knowing if they are serious (if they have a plan) or not. It's having enough knowledge to know if it's a 999 call or send them to GP / trained counsellor. There is now Connect 5 training which is for helping people identify better the best source of help for them. It's like asking if you think it's a broken leg spouting blood, or a bit of ice and rest will help. If it's spurting blood, you put on compression and get them to the professionals as quick as possible, but it its ice and rest, most people can do that. if you think they are going to jump in front of a bus, you stay with them until emergency services arrive, or if they need a friend or a cup of tea and a hug (a fellow teacher). It's not being a counsellor, it's having the knowledge of who to call, if it's psychotic episodes or part of long term depression.
    phlogiston likes this.

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