The link between mental health and building community in education

A picture of TrilbyTV's Neil Emery in the staffroomBuilding a school community can be tough at the best of times, let alone during one of the worst pandemics the world has ever seen. When you get into a growth mindset, it’s not about looking back, it’s about looking forward… What the last 18 months has taught us is that together we can be stronger and that it’s better to look out for one another. We were even more conscious of becoming a tight-knit unit, instead of flying solo. Mental health is just as important as going to the doctors or the dentist. It shouldn’t be ignored and reminds me of the phrase that has become iconic, ‘it’s okay to not be okay’. With this we’ve found that we need to support one another, create a positive vibe and a feeling that we’re all in this together.

A message to boost mental health saying "In a world where you can be anything be kind"

Over the past year, we’ve noticed more and more customers relaying this important messaging through their digital signage. TrilbyTV has a fantastic resource called the Content Catalogue, with key messaging from the likes of 1decision and their “Are you feeling worried” content and NetSupport’s, “In a world that you can be anything be kind” – both great resources. Beyond this, we’ve found that many of our customers have been a lot more resourceful.

Positive Messages

One of the first examples that we noticed was from Chris Wood, who is the Digital Lead at Portsmouth College. He showed a prime example of how digital signage can be used to communicate positive messages to keep staff motivated,

“The staffroom screens are very much about wellbeing and positive messages, which have proved really, really lovely. It was a moment of genius [when we added] a huge picture of the college with the sunrise coming behind. Overlaid was some text saying, ‘We are amazing teachers, we’ve got this!’ This single item sent a really powerful message saying – ‘okay, we’re in this together and it really has helped to boost staff morale. We needed something that was going to create a real impact.”

A slide from Portsmouth College's digital signage saying 'we are amazing teachers, you've got this' with a picture of the college in front of a sunset

Building a strong community

Building a strong community through effective messaging doesn’t have to be covertly planned. The beauty of digital signage is that it can be brief and executed well – even on the fly – as Dan Oakes, Headteacher at St Bartholomew’s Primary Academy in Royal Wootton Bassett told us,

“TrilbyTV’s inspirational quotes are a quick win as the content is already there and it updates automatically. Messages can be varied and resonate at different times, which I love as viewers don’t know what’s coming next.”

A screen at St. Batholemews saying "no act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted" - Aesop with a green background showing people holding hands

For St Bartholomew’s though, it doesn’t just need to be positive messages to build the school community, as Dan told us,

“The birthdays widget is brilliant, we only use this for staff but by far, we’ve never seen so much cake in the staffroom before! The Notices app works really well in the staffroom too, with simple positive notes like ‘don’t stay at work too late tonight’, ‘party tomorrow’ or ‘thanks for your hard work this week’. Sharing a note in the staff room means everyone has the chance to see it and it creates a real buzz.”

These short messages are reminders to those watching to take a moment – pause for a brief while and bring your attention to the here and now. It brings well-being to the forefront and starts conversations even if those are only in our heads until we are ready to share with others.

Content aimed at staff and stakeholders can be more than a straight forward, ‘we’re here to help’ mental health message. It’s about building community, creating a sense of belonging, encouraging kindness and most importantly spreading the love.

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