Updated: Oct 9, 2020
We were joined by Ross Ashcroft - Head of School on Monday 5th October 2020. He presented us with strategies which he has proven to be effective in building a culture of mental health and well-being as a leader acknowledging the importance of investment of time and wise investment of funds. Making good business decisions afforded him time to build effective relationships with individuals and explore how best to meet their needs. Investment of time provided opportunities to identify signs of burnout and deliver early and preventative intervention. The results demonstrated a drop in absences, a rise in productivity and a remarkably positive impact on budget over one year.
However, there was another side to this demonstration of progress, the story many of us know and understand. Ross, being a champion for mental health and well-being unfortunately was not a recipient of adequate support himself.
I often hear of and join in with celebrations when qualified Mental Health Leads are appointed in any organisation, the impact of their work is often phenomenal. However, the problem which so often reoccurs is that they themselves do not receive adequate ongoing support and signs of burnout begin to show. This stage can last for years before mental health challenges like depression and anxiety become clear enough to be identified in order for the person to receive treatment. By then the personal cost to the individual and their loved ones has become too great. In addition, the financial impact on the organisation and those they are built to serve also becomes great.
Incidents of burnout can be avoided as leaders invest wisely through time and funding, with the view of long- term impact. On-going support, learning and development is necessary if we are to sustain a mentally healthy and productive workforce.