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Part 3: National Suicide Prevention Month—Mental Health in the Workplace

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Date Posted: 10/03/2022

Disclaimer: If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, or call 911 immediately.

Teachers have felt less respected in the past two years, according to a poll by Teachers Pay Teachers. To be exact, 65% of teachers say there is less respect for teachers since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Between anxiety, depression, and a feeling of a lost respect for the job, teachers face a lot of mental health challenges, with many challenges being heightened because of COVID-19. In fact, 87% of teachers reported that work-related stress and virtual teaching were the major challenges of teaching during the pandemic, according to a report by the Charles Butt Foundation. This was followed by 83% of teachers reporting extra workload/hours as being a major challenge.

Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education blog Usable Knowledge also looked into the subject of teacher mental health back in 2019. In an interview with Henry Seton, a longtime high school teacher, the blog discusses various aspects of teacher mental health. One quote from the blog sums up the situation:

“Teachers are attuned to the social-emotional wellbeing of our students and trained to monitor for signs such as trauma, anxiety, bullying, or microaggressions,” Seton says in the article. “Yet we are still just learning how to discuss a huge, lurking threat to our work: our own mental health.”

In a March 2020 survey, teachers reported the emotion they felt most often every day was anxiety, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Mental Health America has a list of tips for teachers to protect their mental health. These include setting boundaries early on and holding on to them, focusing on what can be controlled, physical activity, connecting with friends and family, keeping up with self-care, and maintaining expectations. There are also a list of tips for helping other teachers on the Mental Health America website.

The CDC provides a list of strategies for schools to promote positive school employee health, such as physical activity, reminders about employee assistance programs (EAPs), recognition of staff achievements, and sharing of mental health resources.

Check out the previous posts in this series on mental health for National Suicide Prevention Month:

Part 1: https://www.atpe.org/About-ATPE/News-Media/ATPE-Blog/Part-1-National-Suicide-Prevention-Month

Part 2: https://www.atpe.org/About-ATPE/News-Media/ATPE-Blog/Part-2-National-Suicide-Prevention-Month