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Staff Wellbeing in Education

Abstract

Jennifer Linsdell

Mental Health in Further Education. Something which all of us want to understand better, although on the surface is something that most within the sector are just trying to cover with a band aid. I came into Further Education wanting to help students, change their lives every day and give them potential and motivation to understand their own self-worth. What I found was students having more negative feelings towards college, their work and themselves because they see the stress their teachers are under. They see the daily struggles of marking, paperwork and scrutiny. They see us exhausting ourselves and ultimately believe it is down to them. When you realise the impact you are having on a young person, both positive and negative, you can’t help but to continue to improve. I’ve spent the past year studying both my own, and my students’ mental health in connection to Art Education & Art Therapy. My interest lies in actively trying to find mechanisms, techniques and ways for our students to understand their emotions and improve them every day. What I have found is that, of course, Art Education can help. It gives our young adolescents an outlet to consider how they feel, articulate that in some way and then move forward. I also found that our students are not the source. Yes, we can improve their Mental Health with Art Therapy & Art Education, yes we are beginning to find active solutions which could potentially have a positive impact, but that just isn’t enough.

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