When you ring a helpline…

More teachers are reaching out for help when they feel under pressure. Julian Stanley looks at what happens when you make that call and access any kind of counselling or support in SecEd.

In my last article for SecEd, I said that despite the increase in callers that we have seen to the helpline run by the Education Support Partnership, I would like to see yet more teachers calling (Ending the stigma: Early help is the key to tackling mental health issues,)

But what actually happens when you do decide to take that step? It is all very well telling teachers, or indeed anyone else, that if they are feeling particularly stressed by their job, or life, to ring a counselling helpline. However, we know that it can be hard to take that initial step. It sounds straightforward, but when you are at a very low point, reaching out and asking for help can be incredibly difficult.

So I thought it might be useful if I explain what happens when you ring our helpline or access other kinds of telephone counselling. We have recently been talking to a number of teachers who rang our helpline and we asked them what their experiences were like. You can read some of their stories on our website

Teachers and education staff may find they have something called “anticipatory anxiety”, whereby the anxiety about something can be much worse than the thing itself. Teachers tend to have vivid imaginations – it is often part of the job. However a good imagination can work against you if you’re forever wondering “what about this scenario, what if I try that?”.

Fear of Ofsted is a typical example of anticipatory anxiety and we have recently published a blog about this to try to help teachers take care of their wellbeing before and during Ofsted. Sometimes just recognising you may be going through anticipatory anxiety can be enormously helpful. For a start, you’re not alone and I hope it is a comfort for you to hear that.

Our counsellors are all highly trained, knowledgeable and experienced. In your initial call the counsellor will assess your situation and work with you to decide how to proceed. 

Read the full article When you ring a helpline…

Have you had counselling ? Did it help? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin 

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