Mental health: Teachers in west Belfast take part in wellbeing day

Posted: 29th September 2023

“You’re in a role in which you day-to-day take care of others and sometimes you can leave yourself behind.”

To combat this hundreds of teachers in west Belfast will be together for a special wellbeing day on Friday.

There will be workshops in everything from Cook Yourself Happy to why Hope Matters to Mental Wealth.

The event at St Louise’s College has been organised by schools in the West Belfast Area Learning Community (WBALC).

An area learning community is where neighbouring schools work together to share information and good practice.

Sometimes that also results in joint classes for pupils in some subjects or joint activities.

Friday’s event is unusual in that it is a chance for teachers in eight big schools in west Belfast to get together to talk about their own well-being and get expert advice.

Lynne McMullan is the co-ordinator for WBALC and she described it as “a dynamic collaboration of schools.”

“We’re very proactive, we’re very enthusiastic and really our key intention is to provide the best possible learning and school experience for the children and young people in our care,” she told BBC News NI.

That has meant cuts to many school schemes, including some offering extra support or counselling to disadvantaged or vulnerable children.

“We felt it was extremely timely to be thinking of the well-being of staff,” she said.

“The whole emphasis will be on the importance of investment in the care of staff to support our students.”

“You’re in a role in which you day-to-day take care of others and sometimes you can leave yourself behind.”

From speeches to cooking

The wellbeing day includes a key-note address and then 14 different workshops teachers can choose from.

For instance, the Hope Matters workshop will teach about the importance of resilience and hope while Cook Yourself Happy will promote cooking good food as a way to slow down.

“I’m hoping that they step away after the keynote address uplifted and thinking how important it is to take care of yourself,” Dr McMullen said.

“They can go away, reflect, enjoy what they’ve learned and learn not just from the workshop facilitators but having the opportunity to engage and learn from each other.”

Jackie Bartley is principal of the large St Genevieve’s High School in west Belfast, which has more than 1,000 pupils, and some of her teachers who will attend the wellbeing day.

“We must invest in our teachers in order to invest in our children,” she told BBC News NI.

“They’re front-line with our pupils every day, and in order to be empathetic to our children our staff need to be supported.

“When we talked about this as principals we wanted to help our staff get together so they can help pupils.”

Source: Mental health: Teachers in west Belfast take part in wellbeing day – BBC News

Categories: Mental Health News