Mental Health

There's a lot of stigma attached to mental health (or mental ill-health), even though it's not as uncommon as you might think.  As a teacher or LSA working with teenagers you could possibly be faced with students who have a number of different mental illnesses, such as

  • Depression
  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-harm

...... to name a few!  I work closely with a mental health expert, and there are some things which she has shared with me, are good to know.

The term ‘mental illness’ is generally used when someone experiences significant changes in their thinking, feelings or behaviour.  The changes need to be bad enough to affect how the person functions or to cause distress to them or to other people.

The terms ‘mental health problem’ and ‘mental disorder’ have a similar meaning.

If a person has always had a problem in their thinking, feeling or behaviour, then this is not usually called mental illness.  It may then be called a developmental problem or a difficulty with their personality - sometimes called a personality disorder.

The impact that poor mental health has on learning:

  • Attendance
  • Engagement with teaching staff, peers and task
  • Performance
  • Achievement
  • Retention

Here are some of the outward signs of poor mental health to spot with your students:

  • Poor performance at work
  • Someone isolating themselves
  • Mood swings that are very extreme or fast and out of character
  • Self-harming behaviour, such as cutting
  • Sleep problems
  • Increased anxiety, looking or feeling ‘jumpy’ or agitated, sometimes including panic attacks
  • Feeling tired and lacking energy
  • Hearing and seeing things that others don't

If you'd like some Mental Health Awareness training, get in touch to find out more about our half day training course, which we can deliver in-house to your staff teams.

For more information and how to get help with mental health issues, contact www.mind.org.uk