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GLOBAL ALLIANCE - Health & wellbeing

Our Health & Wellbeing Global Alliance Group is led by the group’s Chair and members who are appointed by GIS. The association assists the group by providing logistical support, which include the coordination of meetings and overseeing the production of key outputs. The group’s Chair will work with GISA to determine the scope of work and terms of reference for its operations. If you are interested in joining this group, please contact us.

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Schools have a central role to play in safeguarding the health and wellbeing of children and young people. A new Global Alliance, created by the Global Independent Schools Association (GISA), will coordinate health and wellbeing initiatives across independent schools around the world and act as a valuable resource for policymakers and education experts. The group’s initial priority will be to identify examples of best-practice in mental health literacy in schools, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, the international community is working to systematically assess the extent of learning loss caused by COVID-19.[1]However, the pandemic’s full impact on the mental health of students, teachers and other school workers around the world has yet to be properly measured, amid widespread reports of low teacher morale and high levels of depression amongst students.[2] The problem is compounded by low levels of mental health literacy in education systems. A recent review of school-based health systems in over 100 countries by the WHO found that most did not provide adequate mental health services.[3]

The independent school sector now has an opportunity to show its leadership on the issue, by identifying best-practice on how schools can effectively recognize, manage and prevent mental disorders.[4] To this end, GISA has created the Global Alliance on Health and Wellbeing, to discuss how to build mental health literacy across education systems. The group is intended to bring together the expertise and experience of a wide range of stakeholders across the spectrum of education and public health, from school leaders and health service providers, to experts on mental health and other psychosocial issues, to representatives of global bodies working on education and development.

[1] The State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery, The World Bank, UNESCO and UNICEF, 2021

[2] Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak, WHO Worldwide (Ref: WHO/2019-nCoV/Mental Health/2020.1), 2020; COVID-19 and the classroom: Working in education during the Coronavirus pandemic, Education Support, 2020Mental health effects of school closures during COVID-19, The Lancet (Ref: Volume 4, Issue 6, p421), 2020; Canadian teachers’ attitudes toward change, efficacy, and burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic, International Journal of Educational Research Open (Ref: Volume 1, 2020, 100016), 2020

[3] WHO guideline on school health services, WHO, 2021

[4] Mental health literacy: Public knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders, The British Journal of Psychiatry (Ref: Volume 177, Issue 5, November), The Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2018

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