Mental health discussions are dominating the education space, and principals are generally tasked with ensuring the wellbeing of their students and teams. However, new data shows that school leaders are increasingly facing their own mental health challenges.
According to the Principal Wellbeing Report recently tabled at parliament, there has been a 64% increase in ‘red flag’ alerts from principals in 2022. These are triggered when school leaders are at risk of self-harm, have occupational health problems, or their quality of life is seriously impacted.
Principals are also dealing with an alarming rise in parental dysregulation. This includes aggression towards teachers and educators, which has risen significantly over the last year with 44% of principals being subjected to physical violence.
According to Warren Jacobson, CEO at Camp Australia, the leading provider of Outside School Hours Care in Australia, the role of a principal has never been more challenging – and inevitably, the impact of this stress filters down to the students.
“We understand that these issues are not unique to school settings,” Jacobson tells The Educator. “Coming out of COVID, we see this kind of dysregulation every day on the side of the sports field, on airplanes and in shopping centres.”
“We know that educators working in a hostile work environment are more likely to leave, and almost half of teachers are considering leaving the profession in the next 12 months,” he continues.
“This affects the children too. They are natural observers who learn through their experiences, and children who witness their families acting through aggression and threats are more likely to have trouble processing and regulating their emotions.”
To address some of these issues, Camp Australia’s next Insight Series has partnered with headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, and will be focused on the wellbeing of school leaders. Jacobson will be joined by a panel including Kristen Douglas, head of schools at headspace, to share expertise and practical insights on wellbeing and how to handle parental dysregulation.
The webinar will also explore the importance of social, emotional, and relational leadership. Relational leadership is an approach that emphasises understanding, collaborating and the building of strong, positive relationships within a community, and values open communication, empathy, and mutual respect.
Empowering School Leaders
7th September, 2:00pm AEST
Enhancing Wellbeing: Empowering School Leaders will take place on Thursday 7th September 2023 at 2:00pm AEST.
Jacobson says the free webinar aims to highlight the importance of personal wellbeing among school leaders, and to help them build resilience in an increasingly difficult environment.
“By reducing external pressure and addressing the wellbeing of school leaders, they will be better equipped to sustain their roles for a longer period,” Jacobson says.
“The aim is to also foster a more positive outlook for prospective leaders, making them more inclined to accept and embrace such opportunities. We want to provide school leaders with valuable resources to enhance their overall wellbeing, building on collective experiences and shared learning.