New service offers key workers support during pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to exert unique pressures on teaching staff, those requiring mental health support or advice are being encouraged to contact Our Frontline

Teaching staff in need of mental health support or advice during the coronavirus pandemic are being encouraged to contact Our Frontline, a new service designed to help key workers.

Reminding would-be users that ‘it’s ok not to feel ok’, the initiative offers round-the-clock, one-to-one mental health and bereavement resources via phone call, text or online.

Educational publisher Twinkl recently announced it was teaming up with the service, jointly set up by the Samaritans, Mind, Shout85258 and Hospice UK, with the support of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Royal Foundation.

We have been in complete awe of teaching and school communities, who have come together to help children and young people keep learning – Leon Smith, Twinkl

Fears of the toll the pandemic may be taking on educators’ mental health was also evidenced by the Department for Education earlier this month, when it announced a range of extra support, including videos, webinars and teaching materials.

“As part of our frontline, teachers have been supporting the nation throughout the lockdown and are now helping us emerge from it,” said Victoria Hornby, CEO of the Shout crisis text message service. “We are here to support them just as they have supported us.

“However big or small a teacher may think their problem is, our trained volunteers are here to listen and help them if they are feeling overwhelmed.”


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Recent tabloid calls for teachers to become “heroes” and return to work overlooked the fact that a high proportion have never stopped, be they educating the children of key workers, looking after boarders or facilitating remote learning.

“We have been in complete awe of teaching and school communities, who have come together to help children and young people keep learning throughout these circumstances,” said Leon Smith, chief customer officer at Twinkl. “We are pleased that this is being recognised and hope that the range of support available to teaching staff will make a difference, at this time and in the future.”

Twinkl has partnered with Mind to develop a range of teacher-centric resources through Our Frontline, including advice on wellbeing, returning to school and the logistics of teaching amid the pandemic.

To access 24/7 support from Our Frontline, visit mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/ourfrontline. Alternatively, text KEYWORKER to 85258 for a confidential, free, text chat with a trained volunteer. Or call Education Support on 08000 562 561, day or night.

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