Since June last year, when my letter on staff mental health and well-being went into Nursery World, our work has become much more embedded and meaningful.
We have reviewed our annual staff questionnaire, introducing questions that help us rate well-being and involvement, and now send them out termly, which we hope will help us identify any recurring issues.
Questions on the original surveys didn’t allow us to score anything. They were very open and broad and we didn’t always get much response. We asked things like ‘Do you feel like a valued member of your team?’ or ‘Do you feel supported by your manager?’.
Now, we provide statements like ‘my workload feels achievable’ or ‘I feel listened to’, and provide the scale ‘none of the time’, ‘rarely’, ‘some of the time’, ‘often’, ‘all of the time’.
We continue to promote awareness days, including a recent pizza night after work. Staff relax, chat, laugh and support each other by sharing experiences.
We have arranged blood pressure training, allowing staff to have their blood pressure checked by one of our trained champions. We have also organised staff zumba sessions to encourage an ‘Active April’, getting teams to connect and be active, and mental health first-aid will be a priority in all budgets.
While we are by no means counsellors or experts in mental health, what we are doing is equipping staff with the confidence to have a conversation with someone and provide them with information if and when needed.