Blue Monday: Practical mental health solutions

Scrolling through social media on Blue Monday each January can feel like falling into an endless pit of doom, with gloomy posts referring to the ‘most depressing day of the year’.

Amid the pandemic and a third national lockdown, life is challenging for many of us right now and we surely don’t need to be told that we should be feeling down on 18th January this year!

With this in mind, we want to brighten things up – there’s no evidence to suggest that the third Monday in January is actually the worst Monday of the year. It was first created in 2005 as part of a marketing campaign for a travel company and several variables were used to decide what would contribute to the gloomiest day in the diary. One of these variables was ‘how long a person has failed to keep up their new year’s resolutions’, which is particularly difficult to determine and not scientific.

Supporting you, your learners and your colleagues

Instead of using this day to bask in the despair, we want to share with you our practical toolkit to proactively support your students, colleagues and loved ones with their mental health:

  1. We recently shared with you our useful guidebook, creating mentally healthy learning environments, as a guide for educators to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of learners. Although we may not be in classrooms right now, you can still support your learners from home and the tips detailed in this guidebook can be applied remotely. Conversation starters such as “I’ve noticed that…”, “is there anything I can do to help?” and “are you okay?” can be just as effective over video call or email. We all know how important these conversations are right now, especially for learners who may have difficult home-learning environments.

 

  1. We know how important improving mental health outcomes in education is right now, which is why we aim to provide individuals with the skills needed to create mentally healthy environments. Our range of mental health qualifications have been developed to support learners with mental well-being and raise awareness and understanding of common issues. Designed by sector experts, our broad provision of high quality qualifications, including the UK’s first awards in suicide awareness and reduction, can really make a difference to your learners. Not only do they support CPD and progression, they could ultimately save lives.

 

  1. Improving mental fitness in further education - a relatively new term, mental fitness is defined as ‘a state of wellbeing and having a positive sense of how we feel, think and act’. Just as we might go to the gym to build up our physical fitness, mental fitness training is designed to be practiced proactively whether a person is displaying symptoms of mental ill health or not. This year, we’re doing all we can to improve mental fitness in further education. We’re working in partnership with Fika, a mental fitness app, and we can’t wait to share with you some exciting news very soon – watch this space!

Finally, we want to highlight that it is important to take care of your own mental health first, as if you are struggling, it will be difficult to offer the best support to others. Spend some time recognising triggers to your own mental health and causes of stress, and reflect on how you can minimise the effect of emotional challenges. This takes us back to our free guidebook which has a section on how you can manage your own stress.

 

 

On the blog...

Danielle McCullough
Danielle McCullough
NCFE is supporting the Foundation for Education Development (FED) to explore how a long-term plan for education is needed for our country at a virtual National Education Summit on 1 - 4 March.
Anna Morrison
Anna Morrison
Anna Morrison, founder and director of Amazing Apprenticeships, looks at the ways in which employers can promote inclusivity and a diversity through their apprenticeship programmes with top tips for inclusive recruitment practices.
David Redden
David Redden
We now know that vocational exams that were due to take place in February and March will be cancelled for learners. With the current Ofqual consultation looking at alternative ways to assess and award grades this year.
Kievah Wallace
Kievah Wallace
The government published the long-awaited Skills for Jobs White Paper. Described as FE’s ‘day in the sun’, the paper shines a light on the national training landscape and provides some much-needed reassurance amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Kylie Aldridge
Kylie Aldridge
Research from The Health Foundation in December 2020, showed that the most common issues affecting wellbeing during the pandemic were worry about the future (63%), feeling stressed or anxious (56%) and feeling bored (49%).
Danielle McCullough
Danielle McCullough
Practical support for educators to support students' mental health from CACHE including free guides, resources, supporting qualifications and more.
Louise Geddis-Regan
Louise Geddis-Regan
Peer Tutor, an innovative peer-to-peer learning app, is providing crucial support and helping students to catch up on missed learning. We hear from Sacha who explains how Peer Tutor has helped her daughter Lucy rebuild her knowledge and confidence.