Back to school is well under way and I have no doubt there will be a mix of emotions felt amongst the school and its community. Some children will be excited to get back to school and see their friends. Some will be eager to learn and ready to challenge themselves as they progress through their academic journey. Some will be anxious about starting a new school or moving into the year above. And teachers too; some will feel excited to get back into the classroom and thrive in their work and others will feel nervous of the year ahead.
As we take the time to settle back into the academic year, we must take the time to acknowledge everyone’s feelings and support the whole school community to transition back into education. Many schools are enquiring about the whole school approach to mental health so that they are best equipped to support the school, but others are still unsure as to what this means, how they can get involved or why it’s a vital element to any school’s mental health strategy.
I’m Tanya Birch and my role within Innovating Minds is Intervention Support Officer. I work with schools across the UK to develop their whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing, and their mental health strategy. Using EduPod software, I work with the schools to audit them, keeping in line with the 8 principles developed by Public Health England, as well as developing their action plan for moving forward. I help them to network with their peers and build those relationships to allow their school community to grow and flourish together. I also offer coaching support to schools to guide them through their journey.
My favourite part of my job is the people I meet, from different schools, different cultures, different roles and different needs. I thrive in supporting each one of the Senior Mental Health Leads that I work with; the tailored and individualised approach is something I am very passionate about. The Whole School Approach is an approach which spans across the education sector, but the journey is unique to each school. Schools vary and each one is different from the next which means it is vital that I work with them at an individual level to understand them thoroughly and ensure that the journey is tailored to meet their needs.
I have worked in education for the last 8 years, supporting and providing interventions to children. In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges we face is struggling to support children and young people and their mental health needs, which is why I love the work I do at Innovating Minds because it allows me to contribute to this challenge and make an impact. We are always aiming for mentally healthy environments within schools, and I am a part of that. I am forever grateful for this opportunity.
Want to find out more about what the whole school approach means for your school? Get in touch with our team today to enquire about the Senior Mental Health Leads Training Programme and how we can support you.