A comprehensive school in the Vale of Glamorgan is making significant strides to support the mental health and wellbeing of its staff.

Last year, St. Richard Gwyn Catholic High School in Barry teamed up with the region’s leading mental health charity, Mind in the Vale of Glamorgan, to look at how the two could work together to support staff wellbeing at the school.

Following discussions with the school’s Headteacher Dave Blackwell, Mind in the Vale designed a bespoke service, which was delivered in-school in a dedicated, privately accessed room. A year on from the start of the project, reports show an overall increase in staff wellbeing of 33%. The report also highlights that as a result of the support of the project, staff’s self-esteem increased by 40%; their close relationships increased by 20% and their trust and hope increased by 20%.

See the full report here

These results have even more significance and importance when taking into account that in 2022, the Teacher Wellbeing Index reported that 75% of all teaching staff across the UK are stressed. With 59% of staff not confident in disclosing unmanageable stress or mental health issues to their employer. 48% of all staff feel their organisations do not support employees well who have mental health and wellbeing problems.

St. Richard Gwyn High School will now welcome Owain Lloyd, Director of Education and Welsh Language, on Monday 22nd May, to present the work and results achieved in this collaboration between the school and Mind in the Vale.

Headteacher of St. Richard Gwyn High School, Dave Blackwell, said:

We take the mental health and wellbeing of both our staff and students very seriously. We have worked with Mind in the Vale previously on educational wellbeing themed talks for the students and are well aware of the great work they do with people across the Vale of Glamorgan. The wellbeing project we put together for staff has had a great impact, increased staff wellbeing, helping them to better manage the daily stresses of work and life. We look forward to welcoming the Deputy Minister for Education and presenting the results of the project. 

Mind in the Vale of Glamorgan’s Executive Manager, Caroline Chapman added,

We recognise the immense pressures that teachers face and were eager to use our expertise to help support the wellbeing of the school’s staff. Our approach to wellbeing is all about the individual, so it’s not a one size fits all service, we work closely with the person and look at all areas of their life.

Over the course of a year we worked with 28 members of staff, and a total of 52 other organisations were utilised as part of their support. We used a range of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) guided self-help and social prescriptions depending on what the individual needed. So, everyone we supported was able to make changes specific to them that lead to a positive increase in their overall wellbeing.

With more and more teachers considering leaving the profession due to the impact on their mental health and wellbeing (59% as stated in the Teacher Wellbeing Index 2022), looking at ways to support staff wellbeing and working with specialist organisations like Mind can have a significantly positive impact on staff mental health and wellbeing, staff retention and a better quality of teaching.

A teacher from Richard Gwyn High School provided the following feedback,

I found Emma and the staff wellbeing service an amazing support. My job role can be very emotionally taxing, and then when coupled with personal issues becomes at times really overwhelming. Having Mind there, at a time when I can access their support has really been a tremendous help and I can honestly say that at times it has been the difference between me being able to continue coping with the high levels of stress I was feeling. It’s also really reassuring just knowing the service is available and that it is accessible. Emma from Mind who supported me is wonderful, really warm and empathetic. She gave me a great course to complete in my own time, which I also found really beneficial and I have even been able to use elements of it to support some students who were struggling with their self-esteem. Being able to access the service has improved how valued I feel by the school, as it really helps to know that they care about the staff and our wellbeing.

Any schools in the Vale of Glamorgan interested in finding out more about Mind in the Vale’s wellbeing project at St. Richard Gwyn High School, please contact Mind in the Vale Executive Manager, Caroline Chapman

Posted on: 15th May 2023

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