NIHR SPHR’s WISE project has conducted a Feasibility Study and Pilot Cluster Randomised Control Trial (RCT) on the development of an intervention to improve mental health support and training for secondary school staff. The research team is led by Dr Judi Kidger and Prof David Gunnell (the University of Bristol). Other researchers include staff from the University of Bristol, Exeter and UCL.
School staff, in particular teachers, are consistently shown to have increased risk of stress, depression and anxiety compared to the general working population. If left untreated, such mental health issues may lead to poor performance at work (presenteeism), sickness absence, and even ill health retirement. Further, school staff report feeling ill-equipped to support vulnerable students, due to a lack of support for their own wellbeing, and a lack of training in mental health.
The WISE pilot study evaluation of a secondary school intervention involved:
- Training a small group of staff in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) who then provided a confidential peer support service for colleagues
- Delivering youth MHFA training to the wider staff body to help them recognise signs of distress and provide initial support
The MHFA training and peer support service were well received by staff, and there were positive signs regarding the effect on student mental health. The intervention has the potential to improve school staff mental health, and student mental health via enhanced skills among staff. A larger study over a longer time period is needed to definitively establish the impact on staff and student mental health.
TagsPublic Mental Health