The Mental Health of Teaching

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There’s no hiding the truth - teaching can be a difficult job. It can be emotionally and physically demanding, with long hours and plenty of challenges along the way. When it’s going well, teaching is the most rewarding job around, but for those who are feeling overwhelmed, it can be difficult to find the support and time you need to make a change.

Simply Education are experts in teachers. As an education recruitment agency, we talk to hundreds of teachers just like you every day. We’ve heard about the good days and the bad days, and along the way we’ve learned about the support that teachers need every day. It’s not surprising that the number of teachers seeking mental health support rose by 35% from April 2017 to March 2018. Alongside the new, and important, focus on student mental health, we believe that there needs to be a big change in the way that teachers are supported.

If you’re worried about your mental health, you should begin by speaking to your GP or a mental health professional. In the meantime, here are some things that the Simply Education team have learned.

Identify the issue

When it’s all getting overwhelming, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. Take a calming breath and think about what led to you feeling this way. If you’ve experienced depression or anxiety before, you’ll know that sometimes it’s simply time to start taking better care of yourself. Other times, there’s a stressor that’s new that could have caused you to begin feeling differently. Nevertheless, sometimes there’s a change you can make, whether it’s in your home or your work life, which could start to make you feel better mentally.

Practice self-care when you can

Teachers are constantly on the hunt for extra time, but it’s vital that you take 5 minutes for yourself whenever you can. You’re always looking after others, so don’t deny yourself a treat, a minute of peace and quiet or a day on the sofa if you get the opportunity. By doing this, you’ll learn to listen to your own needs and will be able to recognise and address issues as they arise in future.

Talk to somebody

Everybody needs an outlet for their stress and anxiety. Speak to your SLT, a trusted friend, a partner or a mental health professional. Sometimes, just getting the worries out of your mind is the first step towards feeling like yourself again. It’s not always a quick process, but it’s an important and helpful one no matter what.

Seek support

The most important thing to know is that you’re never alone when it comes to mental health. In the UK, 25% of people will experience a mental health issue every year. We know that sometimes, the support available to teachers isn’t what it should be, so if you aren’t able to find help where you first look, try resources like the Education Support Partnership, who are experts in helping teachers manage their mental health.

Don’t forget the impact you make

One of the most common reasons that teachers choose the career path they have is to make a difference. In the midst of stress, anxiety and more, it’s easy to forget that you’re helping children every single day. The smallest acts can make the biggest impact. By taking the time to listen to a child, helping them to understand something new or supporting them through a difficult time, you’re making an incredible difference to their life.

Simply Education are a resource for teachers and support staff everywhere. Our consultants take the time to really get to know our candidates and care for their wellbeing. If you are in need of a change of scenery when it comes to employment then we can help you take that first step. Find your local branch or register with us today in time for the New Year.

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