The HSE has published The Talking Toolkit for Schools, with substantial input from the NASUWT, in a bid to get schools to talk openly and honestly about stress to help prevent problems or stop them getting worse.

In the last 12 months, over half a million working days were lost in secondary schools due to stress, depression or anxiety caused or made worse by work.

Stress affects us all at different times and in different ways. It can cause people to feel physically unwell, can cause mental health problems and can make existing problems worse.

As part of the HSE's Go Home Healthy campaign, the toolkit for headteachers/principals school leaders can be used as a framework to help senior and middle leaders to have simple, practical conversations with school employees.

By taking action in your school, you can help create a more productive, healthy workforce. The HSE has launched the ‘Talking Toolkit’ because prevention is better than cure, and starting the conversation about stress and mental health is an important first step.

The case for preventing stress:

  • The law requires employers to tackle work-related stress.
  • Tackling stress prevents ill health.
  • Taking action on stress brings business benefits: it reduces sickness absence, boosts morale and helps improve productivity.

 The Toolkit Starting the conversation is an important first step towards preventing work-related stress and developing the actions and stress risk assessment employers need to comply with the law.
The Toolkit focuses on six key conversations:

  1. Conversation 1 – Demands
  2. Conversation 2 – Control
  3. Conversation 3 – Support
  4. Conversation 4 – Relationships
  5. Conversation 5 – Role
  6. Conversation 6 – Change

The Talking Toolkit is just one step towards managing work-related stress and bringing in measures needed to address the risks. It can form part of an organisation’s response but should not be used in isolation as the employer’s only measure to prevent stress.


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