People often tend to think of the mental health crisis of students, which is valid. But in the shadows often overlooked is the mental health of the teachers. “The only other profession that comes close to us for stress is nursing—and we still have the numbers … by a lot. The data is insane, and no one is really paying attention.” Jamy Brice-Hyde, a veteran teacher and apart of the national group BAD ASS TEACHER ASSOCIATION (BAT).
A few years ago 3 members of BAT took their own life. Creating a flood of emotions and questions. The group decided to partner with the American Federation of Teachers to conduct a study of working conditions centered around issues such as stress, work-life balance, respect and more.
They results were like shining a light underneath your child’s bed. You’re shocked at all the junk, trash and cookie crumbs (how’d they get there) . . . but knowing your child, you’re also not shocked at all. You can see the results of the entire study or search by state.
Here some quick findings:
- 61% of educators find work “always” or “often” stressful.
- 21% of educators said they’ve been threatened, bullied or harassed.
- 50% of those bullied identified a student, 35% identified an administrator or supervisor.
Teacher are stressed. In the classroom they promote mental health awareness & emotional intelligence, yet they fail to realize their own need for some teacher mental health breaks, checks and maintenance.
TEACHER EXCUSES & SOLUTIONS
FOR MENTAL HEALTH
“I DON’T HAVE THE TIME”
Yes, they arrive an hour before the students and often leave a couple hours after. Get home to their families, conduct their parent responsibilities, open their laptops, continue working and grading papers.
So, to combat this there is an awesome company called Talkspace, it is one of the best-known companies on the market. They offer on-demand therapy that you can do via text messaging. To start, you’ll find out some basic info and then they’ll match you with a licensed therapist. But the coolest part, there’s no scheduling needed. You can write your therapist early in the morning, late at night or even on the treadmill.
“I DON’T HAVE THE MONEY”
YUP, therapy is expensive whether you have insurance, no insurance or high co-pays. But good news is, there are some great options:
- Look into support groups. Anxiety and Depression Association of America has an amazing online resource.
- Look into group therapy, which can sometimes be cheaper the 1-on-1
- Seek providers that offer sliding scales (be upfront that you are a teacher)
- Check within your union or insurance group about mental health benefits.
“I TRIED THERAPY AND DIDN’T LIKE IT”
I get it, you may have tried therapy in the past. That time you when your college spouse forced you to go or when your mom made you do it. Don’t let a bad therapy experience pull you off the wagon completely.
Try someone new. And if you don’t click with them after the first visit, try another. Keep looking until you find a good fit.
“I’VE DONE THERAPY. IT DIDN’T WORK”
Don’t let a bad therapy experience but you off from therapy all together. Don’t feel bad about searching for a someone better. Someone you truly connect with. Trust me, therapist would prefer you did too!
“I’M NOT TO THAT POINT YET.”
GOOD! Don’t wait for it to get to that point either! “If you are telling yourself that you are not to that point yet, it means that you recognize that there is an issue and that it is worsening,” says GinaMarie Guarino, a licensed counselor with PsychPoint Mental Health Center. “Waiting until you cannot take it anymore is detrimental to your health and the well-being of your students.”
She recommends having a general conversation with a mental health professional, so they can help you assess.
“I CAN HANDLE THIS ON MY OWN.”
But you should always have a back-up plan.
Education is tough. There are millions of things that you college education just didn’t prepare you for. From irate and irrational parents to children with unique learning abilities. . . to the politics. There are the requirements of what you are required to teach, what you are taught to teach and what truly actually happens in the classroom.
This creates stress.
Every teacher should have a fall-back on someone they can talk to, confide in and have the opportunity to jump on their soap box, get everything off their chest. Its not an easy job and no one should go at it alone. . . especially new teachers.
“I LIVE IN A SMALL TOWN AND THEIR ARE LIMITED RESOURCES.”
Yes, anyone living in a small rural area – this is always surely a concern. But good new is . . . we live in the 21st century! There are a bunch of online options.
One great source to checkout is BETTER HELP, is a great option for a variety of different kinds of options. You can also try to find a therapist licensed in your state the is willing to provide sessions via skype.