An Occupational Health Strategy is in place as a supportive resource for teachers. The aim of this strategy is to promote the health of teachers in the workplace, with a focus primarily on prevention rather than cure. The Occupational Health Strategy comprises of the Employee Assistance & Wellbeing Programme (EAWP) and the Occupational Health Service (OHS) for teachers.
The EAWP is a free confidential service available to teachers and their family members. It is accessible by means of a Freephone dedicated helpline which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, providing counselling on a range of personal health and wellbeing issues given by qualified clinicians. Where counselling is requested, telephone and face-to-face counselling is offered with a maximum number of 6 counselling sessions available per case.
The Wellbeing Policy Statement and Framework for Practice 2018-2023 was launched in July 2018. The policy statement provides an overarching structure encompassing existing, ongoing and developing work in the area of wellbeing. It builds on the good work already happening in schools to ensure that best practice in whole-school wellbeing promotion is embedded across the system. The policy outlines a multicomponent, whole school preventative approach to the promotion of wellbeing with interventions at both universal and targeted levels. This policy requires that a Wellbeing Promotion Process is developed and implemented, through the use of the School Self-Evaluation (SSE) process, in all schools by 2023. The Department has identified eight specific indicators of success embedded in the four key areas of wellbeing promotion:
- Culture and Environment
- Curriculum (Teaching and Learning)
- Policy and Planning
- Relationships and Partnerships
An Implementation Plan for 2018-2023 is included in the policy. The initial programme of work includes among other actions the raising of awareness regarding supports for teacher wellbeing.