Teachers Caring for Students’ Mental Health Is Crucial – and Appreciated
Even before schools were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, children’s mental health was among the most pressing child health issues in the United States. One in six kids between ages 6-17 experience at least one mental health disorder, and half of them don’t receive treatment. Since children spend a lot of time in classrooms, teachers are crucial in supporting their students’ mental health.
As a parent, I know that we already ask so much of our teachers. We want them to be creative and adaptive enough to personalize our children’s educations, yet disciplined and talented enough to ensure their academic success in a world of tests and competitions. But we also demand much of our children. Even from kindergarten, we rate and evaluate their behaviors, skills, and ability to follow directions. The pressure on both teachers and students to succeed is significant.
Fortunately, many teachers and school administrators work hard to care for students’ mental health. Growing awareness of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) has led educators to explore better trauma-informed practices. Mindfulness training, support services, mental health groups, and community-building events are commonplace. And now, during this time of remote learning and widespread illness, schools are creatively using resources to support our kids.
It’s a testament to the power of our teachers that my two children miss school more than anything. But while they are sad, I’ve also seen their faces beaming when they see their teachers on video, whether live or pre-recorded. All they really need is to know they are loved and valued and doing the best they can. So, while we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, we want our teachers to know that, too. Take care of yourselves and your kids, and we can get through this together.
Resources for Teachers to Support Students’ Mental Health
Below is a list of resources teachers can utilize to help care for their students during the coronavirus pandemic:
- COVID-19 Resources from the National Center for School Mental Health
- Resources for Response to COVID-19 for Schools and School Leaders from the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools
- A Guide to COVID-19 and Early Childhood Development from the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University
- Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Mental health information for educators from MentalHealth.gov
Self-Care Resources for Teachers
Teachers’ mental health is really important, too. Educators should care for themselves and their families, not just their students.
- Safeguarding the Mental Health of Teachers from the Usable Knowledge blog of the Harvard Graduate School of Education
- Stress-Busting Strategies for Educators from ASCD Express
- Practicing Self-Care During the Coronavirus: 5 Tips for Teachers from Understood
The Institute of Family & Community Impact is a initiative of OhioGuidestone, one of Ohio’s largest behavioral health agencies. From research to products to clinical innovations, we provide tools for mental health treatment. For questions or more info, email us at IFCI@ohioguidestone.org.