MENTAL HEALTH OF TEACHERS, A SCHOOL PRIORITY
It was one afternoon, as I browsed one social media site, when I saw a headline that caught my attention. With mixed reactions, the article posted was about a teacher in the public school who committed suicide. Shortly a few months later, another case was reported in a different province. Has public service reached this far already?
Being aligned in the field of psychology and being an educator in the public school at the same time, it is at my core to have a concern at the growing number of incidents reported with regards to teachers committing suicide. Having been exposed to the fusion of these two co-existing fields, I somehow feel the urge to be an advocate in order to link the gap in ensuring the mental health of public school teachers.
Indeed, the teaching profession is in nature a public service. Unknown by many, teachers have to exert more than a hundred percent even outside the official office hours to fulfill the duties expected from them. At times, public school teachers also have to assume other roles as they are also assigned to other designations every school year. With the amount of workloads expected from them, it should be a priority of the school to maintain a workplace that is conducive for everyone to stay mentally healthy.
One way to keep a positive environment is to ensure a solid support system. Schools should develop a culture of open communication among faculty members and staffs. Encouragement of simple appreciation and praises can go extra miles to reduce the detrimental effects that mental health conditions such as depression may bring. In addition, schools can also consider implementing wellness programs such as regular exercises and leisure sessions that can ensure a work-life balance among employees.
Teachers are often viewed as superheroes who can save and shape the future generation. However, it is to be recognized that even Superman can be vulnerable with a kryptonite. One thing people fail to realize is that mental health is as important as physical health. Thus, efforts must be made to maintain the holistic well-being of teachers.
Salute to all teachers!
--oOo— The author is Teacher III at Santos Ventura National High School – SHS