While life is slowly returning to normal in many Australian states, there is still a high level of uncertainty. Early childhood professionals have navigated a pandemic, employment changes, extra duties and major funding changes. Educators may continue to feel stressed during this time. Mental wellbeing is even more important now than ever.
Amanda Abel, a psychologist at Northern Centre for Child Development, says that educators run the risk of burnout if their mental health is not in some part supported by their workplace.
“Management should be checking in with all staff to ask how they are coping in such a stressful global environment. This should also be addressed formally at every meeting as an agenda item,” shares Amanda.
Having a well-connected and thriving team of educators leads to less burnout, reduced staff turnover and a more engaged educational community.
Take care of yourself and your colleagues with these six resources for improved mental wellbeing in the workplace:
1. Workplace wellbeing
Learn about mentally healthy workplaces – what do they look like and how are they created? Read facts and statistics, and discover practical ideas for achieving work-life balance. These resources are provided by The Black Dog Institute, a medical research institute in Australia.
Learn more about The Black Dog Institute.
2. MindSpot Clinic
MindSpot is a free service providing assessment and treatment for people experiencing stress, anxiety, depression and low mood. MindSpot is funded by the Australian Government and is based at Macquarie University. Treatment courses are accessible from all Australian locations, as they are provided online and via telephone.
Learn more about MindSpot.
3. Inspirational Ted Talks
Watch these Ted Talks when you need to feel good about being an educator. Be inspired by other educators and learn new ways to inspire young children. Abel says, “remember why you’re in this kind of work. This can be really helpful on tough days.”
Watch a Ted Talk by Dr Caspar Addyman who studies baby laughter. Abel says “remember to laugh. It’s shown to help us mentally and children give many opportunities for us to have a giggle with them.”
Watch Ted Talks.
4. Employee Assistance Programs
Larger organisations may offer free confidential counselling to employees. Abel says, “utilise your Employee Assistance Program or book in to speak with a psychologist for a few sessions to learn some effective strategies to promote mental health in your life.
“Getting some individualised strategies allows for you to really think about your values and consider making some relevant changes that will fit into your life.”
Learn more about these programs.
5. Be You and Beyond Blue
Be You, led by Beyond Blue, promotes mental health and wellbeing and offers educators and learning communities evidence-based online professional learning, complemented by a range of tools and resources to turn learning into action. Download the Staff Wellbeing fact sheet here.
Beyond Blue provides information and programs to help people manage anxiety and depression, and to prevent suicide. They aim to reduce the stigma of mental health and encourage people to reach out and ask for help. Access their support services for immediate help, including online chat, forums and 24/7 telephone hotline (Call 1300 22 4636).
Learn more about Be You
6. Early Childhood Educator Wellbeing Project
To care for and educate children effectively, educators need to be well. Sandie Wong, a researcher for the Early Childhood Educator Wellbeing Project (ECEWP) and Associate Professor at Macquarie University, says “there has been an increase in attention to educators’ mental wellbeing as they have grappled with the uncertainties and challenges of the COVID-19 situation over the past few months. But educators’ mental wellbeing is important at any time.”
Follow the ECEWP Facebook page for regular updates focused around wellbeing for educators in our sector.
Further wellbeing reading from Amplify:
Educator Wellbeing Filling an Empty Bucket
NESA REGISTERED PD
This webinar will explore where you find your ‘flow’ and what depletes your energy. It is important for educators to identify what fills their bucket and enable them to be present when working with children and their teammates.
Drawing from Positive Psychology, Neuroscience and Emotional Intelligence this workshop aims to support educator wellbeing.
Completing Educator Wellbeing Filling an Empty Bucket will contribute 2 hours of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered PD addressing 6.2.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.