Mental Health and Wellbeing

We know from research with our SET members that support for mental health and wellbeing is a priority for our workforce and learners.  Below you will find resources to support you.  We do hope they will help and if you have any questions, please get in touch with

Mental health and wellbeing guides for the Further Education sector

Collectively, these guides aim to provide a foundation for Further Education (FE) and Skills managers and leaders to enhance organisational systems and support structures to help staff develop the skills required to cope with the demands of the job. They provide a deeper understanding of psychologically safe environments alongside evidence-informed initiatives and insights from those working in the FE sector. They also look at why your mental wellbeing needs to be a priority and how cultural change has to start from the top.

Mental health support for learners with SEMH (Social, Emotional & Mental Health) needs

This guidance draws on examples of practice across specialist Further Education and Skills settings working with learners who have learning difficulties and disabilities.

How to know if you are mentally wealthy

This guide has been developed to provide a mental health gap analysis tool for managers and leaders working in Further Education and Skills.

Managing challenging conversations around mental health

This guide aims to facilitate supportive conversations with learners or colleagues who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide, and to help them access appropriate support.

Supporting learning communities following suicide and sudden death

This guide has been developed to assist leaders, managers and key staff to support their learning communities following suicide and sudden death.

Leading through crisis: A guide for FE leaders and managers

This guide shines a spotlight on shared challenges, how they manifest through various channels and their impact on FE communities.

Starting with you: Taking care of your wellbeing as a busy FE leader

This guide offers evidence-based tips and actionable tools, tailored to your role in FE, which can help you look after your own wellbeing as a leader.

Helping Staff Balance Work and Life

In this guide for FE leaders and managers we offer advice on how to set the foundations for a workplace that supports a balance between work and life, including practical tips on maintaining and promoting healthy working practices and boundaries.

Looking After Yourself and Supporting Colleagues while Supporting Learners – Secondary Trauma

This guide aims to help adequately prepare FE staff for any disclosures and know what to do when supporting their own needs when it comes to secondary trauma.

Psychological Safety in Further Education Settings

This guide aims to provide a foundation for FE managers and leaders to enhance organisational systems and support structures to help staff develop the skills required to cope with the demands of the job more effectively.

Talking to Colleagues about their Mental Health

In this guide we explore why it’s important for Further Education staff to feel they can ask for help whenever they require it, how to approach conversations around mental health with colleagues and where to get further support when they need it.

Burnout: Prevention and spotting the signs in FE settings

In this guide we unpack ways to prevent burnout in Further Education settings before it takes hold. We also share how to spot the signs and what to do if you, or others, need support.

Building Collegiate Relationships

In this guide we look at how building strong relationships requires trust, respect and self-awareness, and how this in turn can make your role more enjoyable and allow you to be in the best possible place mentally and emotionally to support learners and colleagues alike.

Webinars: Leadership and Mental Health

Mental Health Webinar recording: Managing Trauma
Mental Health Webinar recording: Leading through crises
Mental Health Webinar recording: Mental Wealth

Blogs: Leadership and Mental Health

What I learned from leading in times of disaster – Mark Malcomson

Mark Malcomson, Principal and CEO of City Lit, discusses how leaders might approach disaster, drawing from his experience of the September 11 attacks.

You can also view all ETF blogs.

Leading mental health and wellbeing in the Further Education sector

The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) worked with Stuart Rimmer, CEO of East Coast College Group, to curate a group of leaders from across the sector to explore in a conversation key aspect of wellbeing and the challenges this brings in leadership. Read the article and listen to full podcast

New support for FE leaders

Education Support’s FE Leaders’ Professional Supervision Service provides a safe and confidential space for you to talk about and process what is going on for you at work. You will work with trained professional supervisors to focus on mental wellbeing and help to develop new coping strategies to feel more fulfilled and in control. These services are provided with funding from Department for Education (DfE).

Apply now for this fully funded wellbeing support.

Centre for Excellence in SEND

Living and working in the twenty-first century can leave you feeling frazzled. And if you’re working in FE supporting learners to achieve their aspirations, developing the skills for the future workforce and coping with the demands of the workplace, this is particularly so.

Our Centre for Excellence in SEND at Weston College with its theme of people has a particular focus on looking after both staff and learners’ wellbeing. Although the Centre is part of our SEND offer, much of the activity relates to all learners and staff in the FE sector. You’ll find recorded webinars on Centres for Excellence in SEND resources page and many more new activities coming up. All of them are free of charge, so do sign up on the Centres for Excellence in SEND Community of Practice page.

Other useful organisations

Education Support

There are many expert organisations with a range of support for the workforce to tap into. We are developing partnerships to ensure that those working in FE can benefit from this support.

Education Support is the only charity that supports the mental health and wellbeing of all education staff. They offer a free and confidential helpline which is available 24/7 and staffed by qualified counsellors as well as grants to those experiencing a financial crisis.

In October 2018, Education Support released the findings of a survey into the mental health of the education sector which includes responses from people working in the FE and Training sector. In February 2019, we’ve commissioned the charity to investigate the levels of staff wellbeing in the post-14 workforce. This research also aimed to identify specific groups of staff at different career stages who have the highest risk of poor wellbeing and to understand the work-related and personal factors impacting on wellbeing.

Mental Health at Work

You might also like to take a look at the Mental Health at Work gateway which is an amalgamation of the most effective resources to support mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. You can filter by sector including education and teaching to find the most relevant resources.

The Self Esteem Team

And to help you to support your learners, The Self Esteem Team is an organisation led by young people who have lived experience of poor mental health.  They have collated a whole range of resources for young people to support them to have and maintain good mental health.

Additional resources

Our Associate, Neil Bates, wrote about the importance of mental health support for leaders – read his FE Week article.

Take a look at the guidance for colleges on mental health and wellbeing from the Department of Education (DfE).