Transforming a culture of mentally healthy school leaders

1400 – 1530

Over the next decade mental health, resilience, and emotional intelligence will be considered the most critical qualities of an enduring, effective and high performing school leader. headspace recognises that the mental health of whole school communities starts with the mental health and wellbeing of the Principal. While managing the intensifying demands and pressures school leaders may experience—as well as the impact of social change and the increase in mental health issues of staff and students—the emotional impact of critical incidents on the school community and leader can be devastating. Even the most experienced and ‘resilient’ of Principals are susceptible to stress, burnout, and mental health concerns following a traumatic event in their school community. However, due to their hierarchical position and role complexity, Principals appear to be least likely to become involved in help-seeking behaviours even if it is at the expense of their own physical health and wellbeing.

This presentation covers:

  • the pertinent issues facing school leaders in 2019
  • ‘the shift’ that is vital in order to transform a culture of mentally healthy school leaders
  • increasing a school leader’s awareness and skills in noticing the dynamics and relationships that cause conflict in their school community
  • preventative, proactive, and practical strategies in managing the impact of stress in their role

The headspace Principal Coaching and Support Service has supported Queensland school leaders since July 2017 through the provision of individual one-to-one coaching sessions following a critical incident in their school community, and access to a suite of training packages focused on topics relevant to their leadership role. The implementation of this innovative service has highlighted the critical need for school leaders to prioritise their mental health and wellbeing.

(e) cmalengret@headspace.org.au (m) 0476 839 363