Teachers and school staff have a great responsibility in fulfilling their duty of care towards the children and young people entrusted to them, and tomoni mental health would like to encourage and support them in this. Together with young people, scientists and educators, we have therefore developed a digital and interactive training program especially for teachers and counselors working in secondary schools: tomoni.schools.
tomoni.schools is currently being scientifically evaluated by the University Hospital of Würzburg to test its effectiveness. We are therefore subject to modified conditions for this period. This includes the fact that only teachers or teachers in training can participate for the duration of the evaluation. We will be happy to inform all other interested parties about the end of the study. We have set up a waiting list and thank you for your understanding!
Everyone who takes part in the study helps to ensure that mental illnesses in schools are recognized at an early stage and that affected young people are spared suffering and time of distress. On the other hand, every participation helps us to show that our program is not only well-intentioned, but also well-done and effective. As a thank you for their time and the additional effort required for the surveys, all study participants will receive our tomoni.cards, our tomoni.bag and a voucher for individual or group coaching.
How does the study work?
All participants are randomly assigned to one of four groups:
Teachers in group 1 take part in tomoni.schools, conducted by experts in everyday life. They themselves have suffered from mental illness in the past.
Teachers in group 2 take part in tomoni.schools, conducted by experts in science. They have a broad specialist knowledge of mental illness due to their training or job.
Teachers in group 3 receive the information in the form of handouts on the modules and supplementary video material and can participate in the modules free of charge at the end of the study (in approx. 12 months).
Teachers in group 4 cannot participate initially as it is a randomized blind study and will not receive any information material. Their participation will begin after twelve months and will then also be free of charge.
Data for the study will be collected in the form of three questionnaires: questionnaire 1 will be answered directly upon registration, questionnaire 2 after three months and questionnaire 3 after twelve months. As a thank you for their time and effort, all participants will receive our tomoni.cards (a set of ten postcards) after registration and the tomoni.bag (a jute bag) after 3 months, as well as individual coaching after 12 months.
All further information about the study can be found on the website of the University Hospital:
Why does tomoni.schools exist?
"The first signs of 75 percent of all mental illnesses are already apparent during the school years. With the help of tomoni.schools, teachers are empowered to recognize them and act accordingly," explains Alix Puhl, who founded the non-profit company together with her husband Oliver in June 2022.
tomoni.schools helps teachers and all those working in schools to recognize the warning signs of mental illness at an early stage and provide initial support to affected children and young people. This involves recognizing the signs of mental illness and dealing with those affected and their environment in an appropriate and targeted manner. Situations from everyday school life are addressed: How do I approach young people I am worried about? How do I react in acute crisis situations? Who do I refer to if I recognize warning signs? How do I involve the parents of affected children and young people? Where do I have responsibility as a teacher and where does it end?
Two groups of experts are used for the mediation of tomoni.schools: -Experts in everyday life (EdA): people with personal experience of mental illness on a stable therapy path;
-Experts in science (EdW): psychologists interested in prevention before and after completing their studies and during and after training as psychotherapists.
tomoni.schools for teachers at secondary schools
tomoni.schools for secondary school teachers consists of eight modules, each lasting 90 minutes, and takes place live on Zoom. Starting with the basics of mental illness, the modules cover anxiety disorders, eating disorders, addiction, depression, self-harming behavior and suicidal tendencies. The course concludes with a module on parental counseling. After attending all eight modules, participants receive a certificate of attendance and become tomoni.fellows.
Current status of use and feedback
Since the beginning of 2023, over 450 teachers from all types of schools (including students, trainee teachers, members of advisory and school management teams) as well as school social workers and school psychologists have taken part in tomoni.schools. In total, we have had almost 1,800 participants in around 180 modules since the start.
Teachers appreciate tomoni.schools:
- The program is designed to be interactive.
- The central element of the teaching is the inside view of those affected.
- Exercises, visualizations and role plays are an integral part.
- Participants have the opportunity to ask questions, including about current cases.
- Possibility of a collegial exchange across schools, cities and federal states.
- Content and language are recipient-oriented, the focus is on practical relevance to the school.
One former participant describes her experience with tomoni.schools as follows: "I am convinced that you make a difference with tomoni. The inspiration you give us teachers with the training courses, the visual school and the support associated with the tips for conducting discussions are a huge element. But sometimes it's also the little things. For example: Yesterday I was breathing together with a student who had a panic attack. We have an appointment on Monday." (S., teacher, member of the counseling team, secondary school)