The mental health of Australian principals in school communities

Here at headspace we’ve spent years working with schools to improve the mental health of young people. Through this experience we’ve seen an important area that is not receiving enough recognition or support – the mental health of principals.

Principals and teachers experience higher levels of burnout and stress and poorer overall quality of life, when compared with the general population. Yet in the next decade, mental health, resilience and emotional intelligence will rise to be the most critical quality of high preforming school leaders.

It’s a fact: there’s never been a more important time to invest in principal and teacher mental health. If you work in a school environment and want to reduce stress, improve your outlook and build mental health, the following list is for you. It’s a collection of tools and resources that we trust and recommend to help promote a healthy headspace.

In 2018, headspace is excited to be promoting the mental health of principals alongside leaders from all Australian education sectors and Australia Principal Associations. We would also like to acknowledge the work of Smiling Mind, Sleep Health Foundation and Beyondblue

Mental Health Resources for Principals

1. Sleep Health Foundation

Sleep directly impacts mental health. The Sleep Health Foundation is an important resource for understanding more about the link between sleep and mood – and learning how to improve your sleep health.

Watch the video below for 5 practical tips to improve your sleep today.

2. Smiling Mind

We are encouraging more principals and teachers to participate in mindfulness - it is scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety and give you a clearer mind.

Smiling Mind is a great app that aims to make mindfulness meditation easy.

3. Why mindfulness is a superpower

If you’re not sure about mindfulness and its benefits, this video explains why taking some time out can radically improve many areas of your life.

4. How to defeat negative thinking

Ongoing stress and anxiety causes negative thinking patterns that contribute to poor mental health.

This video explains how you can start reversing these patterns.

5. Understanding meditation for first timers

If you’re ready to try meditating but don’t know where to start, this video featuring meditation expert Sharon Salzberg, walks you through the basics.

6. Wellbeing and mental health for primary and secondary principals

MindMatters offers targeted information and strategies to get your whole staff to improve their mental health and wellbeing.  

7. Wellbeing and mental health for school workplaces

beyondblue’s Heads Up is an important resource filled with tools and advice for anyone looking to create a more mentally healthy workplace.