MEN­TAL HEALTH OF TEACH­ERS, A SCHOOL PRI­OR­ITY

Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! - ARMAND VIN­CENT A. SESE, RPm, LPT

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

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