Fika Mental Fitness has partnered with Zurich Municipal insurance to address mental health in education - as four in five school leaders say mental health is the biggest challenge facing their organisation.
Fika will work with UK schools insured by Zurich Municipal to offer mental fitness training to staff - empowering them with skills and techniques to cope with the challenges they come up against at work.
This in turn will help improve schoolchildren's mental fitness and wellbeing.
Speaking at the start of Children's Mental Health Week, Fika co-founder and co-CEO Gareth Fryer, said: "Declining mental health in education staff presents a risk to academic performance, causes stress in learners, and increases the likelihood of staff burnout.
"Fika looks forward to working with Zurich Municipal to help staff train their mental muscles in preparation for the inevitable challenges they will face at work - building mental fitness to prevent injury and maintain their strength for the long run.
"By arming teachers with mental fitness skills, we are in turn creating a calmer, happier and more mentally fit environment for school pupils, setting them up for a brighter future."
Alix Bedford, Risk Proposition Manager, Zurich Municipal commented: “Working in the school environment has always been high pressured, but for nearly two years now, education staff have experienced an ongoing situation of unpredictability and stress. It is understandable that this would have a huge impact on mental health and wellbeing. There are also concerns over the adverse impact of the pandemic on pupils, adding to the other issues already affecting young people’s mental health.
"Schools have a duty of care for the mental health and wellbeing of their staff and students. Awareness and understanding of the scope of this issue is rapidly evolving, but the policies, strategies and actions needed to respond must evolve rapidly too. If left unchecked, this risk could dwarf some others."
Zurich Municipal recently released a study in partnership with YouGov, highlighting the mental health crisis facing schools. The study revealed that for 78% of senior decision makers in primary and secondary schools, mental health and wellbeing had a “very big” or “substantial impact” on their organisation in the last 12 months – the highest out of seven challenges facing the sector. This was markedly higher than the average of 60% when looking at all public and third sector organisations surveyed.
The research went on to reveal future drivers of change and concerns, and predicts mental health will continue to have a major impact in schools. Nearly three quarters (73%) of school leaders expect mental health and wellbeing to continue to be one of the main challenges over the next five years.