Ride the wave : investigating the continuum of teacher mental health through multiple lenses Gordon, Brayden Kent; Segec, Erica Teresa; Thornton, Carol Ann
The mental health of teachers impacts the entire school community. However, to our knowledge, the mental health of teachers has not been investigated from multiple lenses. These lenses include research literature, teacher narratives of their lived experiences, human resource professionals interfacing with teachers, and ourselves as research practitioners. We identify current understandings of teacher mental health among teachers and other educational professionals, determine current preventative and support measures available, and suggest recommendations for future research. The following four questions guided our study: How is mental health defined as it relates to teachers and teaching? What mental health concerns commonly affect teachers? What are some opportunities or challenges facing teachers in accessing mental health resources? What does a mentally healthy school look like? We conducted a literature review and in-person interviews with human resource and organization experts to help answer the questions. Our findings suggest specific risk factors, common mental health issues, coping strategies, challenges and opportunities, and administrators’ roles in promoting or harming the mental health of teachers. Our findings demonstrate teacher mental health has implications beyond the individual teacher. It has the potential to impact student achievement, collegial and home relationships, and the entire school community. Our findings suggest a need for specific training teacher and administrator in the areas of mental health literacy, building trusting relationships, identifying psycho-social risk factors, resiliency training, promoting “work/home” balance, and realistic work conditions. Overall, we found there is a need for cooperation and collaboration between management, teachers, and the union in effectively addressing teacher mental health.
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