Importance of Teacher Mental Health

Teachers Own Mental Health | Care Plus NJ Schools

Teachers are superheroes because of their commitment and dedication to ensuring that all children can learn and have a bright future. However, teachers are human too; they get tired from long hours of teaching, busy schedules, preparing modules, and interacting with different types of students. Being a teacher is not an easy task, with heavy workloads and frequent job-related stress,  the sad truth is that teachers are prone to mental health crisis too. 

Teachers have to balance conflicting expectations. They often have to prioritize the demands of others’ mental health and well-being over their own. However, teachers must prioritize their mental wellness for their personal benefit and the benefit of the entire school community. 

This article will provide you with essential information on teacher mental health, including what it is and how it affects teachers, children, families, and school communities.

Mental Health | Care Plus NJ Schools

What Is Teacher Mental Health?

Teacher mental health is the condition or state of a teacher’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. A teacher’s mental health has an impact on their thoughts, feelings, and actions. It also influences how they respond to pressure, interact with others, and make decisions. In other words, teacher mental health is a state of mental wellness that helps teachers manage life’s stressors, develop their potential, study and work effectively, and give back to their communities. It is a crucial element of health and well-being that supports their capacity to decide, form connections, and influence the world we live in.

According to the World Health Organization, “Mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders. It exists on a complex continuum, which is experienced differently from one person to the next, with varying degrees of difficulty and distress and potentially very different social and clinical outcomes. Mental health conditions include mental disorders and psychosocial disabilities as well as other mental states associated with significant distress, impairment in functioning, or risk of self-harm. People with mental health conditions are more likely to experience lower levels of mental well-being, but this is not always or necessarily the case.”

Mental Illness for Teachers

Mental illness can develop if a teacher’s mental state is in poor condition. Mental illnesses, also known as mental disorders, are ailments that affect emotion, thought, and behavior (or a combination of two or more). Distress and/or difficulty coping with daily tasks at work, family issues, or social situations can be symptoms of mental diseases. Examples of mental illness that a person can develop include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Eating disorders
  • Addictive behaviors
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The Impact of Stress on Teacher Mental Health

It is true that stress is common for teachers. Teachers are more likely to suffer stress because they work long hours, often don’t have enough support to do their job properly, and importantly, may not have enough mental health resources and other support. As a result, the stress teachers are under can harm their mental state. Some stress is natural, but too much stress can negatively impact the life of a teacher and their family.

According to Healthline, teachers experience twice as much stress as the typical American worker. Since teachers are more prone to stress than persons in other occupations, teachers are more prone to mental health issues.

Alarming numbers on teacher mental health were revealed in the 2021 State of the U.S. Teacher Survey, which was published this summer by the research firm RAND and supported by the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers.

The key findings from the 2021 State of the U.S. Teacher Survey include:

  • Compared to 40 percent of other working individuals, teachers reported experiencing regular work-related stress at a rate of over 75 percent.
  • The top two stresses for instructors were the mode of instruction and health.
  • 10 percent of instructors reported experiencing depressive symptoms.
  • Close to 25 percent of teachers said that they would probably quit their positions due to stress.

It can be clear that stress related mental health issues for teachers are common and need to be addressed.

Teacher Mental Health | Care Plus NJ Schools

Teaching and Looking After Your Own Mental Health

More and more teachers strive to maintain strong mental wellness since they are leaders in the classroom. Here are some factors on how mental health problems affect teachers.

Poor Physical Health

General happiness is greatly influenced by one’s mental health. A strong mental condition can help you stay healthy and fight off significant medical issues. On the other hand, poor mental health can result in dangerous behaviors or poor health physically.

When the body is overloaded with stress, the immune system may be weakened, which makes it more difficult for the body to fight off diseases. In addition, according to Mayo Clinic, the signs of a mental illness manifest as bodily issues like headaches, backaches, stomachaches, or other inexplicable aches and pains. Teachers often become unwell and are more susceptible to chronic illnesses. 

Unhealthy Habits

A poor state of self care often makes it difficult for teachers they may develop unhealthy habits. Bad sleeping and eating habits can lead to an unhealthy body and mind. In addition, struggling with one’s mental conditions may cause teachers to look for relief in unhealthy ways like drinking or taking drugs. These coping mechanisms can negatively impact teachers’ mental health even further.

Low Work Performance

If a teacher has mental health issues, there is a greater chance that their performance as a teacher may be impacted.

A teacher’s effectiveness as a educator and a leader will be substantially impacted if they are experiencing mental health issues. Their mental health can impair their judgment, their emotional reactions to their students, and their relationships with students and coworkers. In other words, mental health affects the teacher’s work performance and affects the social and emotional learning of teachers and students.

Mental Health Crisis | Care Plus NJ Schools

The Impact of Teacher Mental Health on the Classroom

The environment that the teacher sets heavily influences student behavior and their overall experience in a classroom. The teacher’s attitude directly affects how well students learn and to what extent they will enjoy school. Although there are many factors that contribute to a student’s experience, teachers have tremendous influence and their own mental wellness can make a huge difference in how they interact with students. 

In addition, what students learn and develop in school will be brought outside the school — into the home. In other words, what a student can learn and who they become inside and outside the school are affected by the teacher’s examples in many different ways.

Teaching Quality

A teacher can carry out their obligations as educators effectively if they feel emotionally strong. Although being a teacher can be demanding, if they can manage their stress and maintain healthy boundaries, they will be able to think clearly and teach their students well.

With excellent self care, they know what to do and what to teach. They will also be aware of the needs of the students and how to address them. They can effectively employ techniques to effectively educate their students. Most have similar goals of delivering the finest educational instruction to for their students.

Discipline Issues

Teachers with facing a personal mental health crisis may experience problems with student discipline.

Symptoms such as:

  • Feeling depressed or down
  • Having extreme mood swings between highs and lows
  • Having trouble understanding and responding to people and situations

Such symptoms can result in poor relationships with students and discipline problems, which in turn can cause distractions and shorten learning time.

Students’ ability to study and their behavior outside of school may suffer if a teacher is unable to maintain appropriate order and discipline within the classroom. The students’ attitudes can affect the school and their families at home. Plus, every disciplinary problem cuts into productive learning time, which limits the student’s ability to learn and grow.

Unmotivated Students

A teacher’s poor own mental health impacts their interactions with students and their students’ desire to attend class and learn more. Students will be unmotivated and uninterested in attending school and studying hard to retain their grades if their teachers are unable to give them a positive learning experience.

A teacher can keep students interested and motivated to learn if they have strong and effective teaching techniques. When students have good experiences, they’re more interested in learning and will want to attend classes. When students don’t enjoy class, they may fall behind and be unable to catch up to their peers.

School Mental Health | Care Plus NJ Schools

School Mental Health Support

Teachers are key factors for a successful school and their mental wellness has a big impact on their schools and school districts.

School Achievement

How teachers guide their students and help them grow into achievers may have a significant impact on how well a school performs. A school can accomplish academic achievement or academic performance, which is the degree to which a student, teacher, or school has reached their short- or long-term educational goals, by having a teaching and school staff who practice setting boundaries, has clear decision making skills, and creates engaging lesson plans.

A teacher that is successful at teaching will produce successful students — showing that the school or school district is a success. A teacher with great self care and mental wellness is capable of educating and producing high-achiever students that can be a representation of a school’s achievement.

Represent the District School’s Image

Educators are a representation of the faculty and school staff who are in charge of utilizing a range of instructional methodologies to address students’ particular needs and skills to provide them with the best chance to learn and achieve. A successful teacher equals a successful institution. As a result, a teacher who is having trouble meeting their teaching objectives can potentially damage the reputation of the school.

In addition, if a teacher is struggling to find balance in teaching due to social, emotional or financial issues that have been brought on by stress and anxiety from their profession, the school can develop a reputation and poor public image for not supporting its educators.

Considering that being a teacher is one of the most difficult occupations there is, most school systems have tactics and programs to help teachers manage stress and maintain self care.

School Leaders And Student Mental Health | Care Plus NJ Schools

Managing Life and Teaching: Advice for Teachers

Although teaching can be demanding, there are methods teachers can utilize to balance their life and career while still maintaining self care.

Here are some useful suggestions for helping teachers manage their stress and maintain a good mental state for themselves, the administration, and school districts.

Set Aside Time for Self-care To Keep Mental Health in Check

Teachers should set out a time for themselves and spend that time on activities that are personal and not related to their careers. Some activities that can help teachers relax include going shopping, spending time with friends and family, going on a date, watching a movie, or reading a book. Engaging in activities unrelated to their job is a wonderful way for teachers to manage stress and enhance their mental health.

Get Enough Sleep and Eat Balanced Meals

Getting enough sleep offers teachers the stamina they need to perform their duties as a teacher; eating well-balanced meals enhances the brain’s ability to think clearly, impart knowledge, and, of course, manage stress. Teachers will find that their brain and body will have the energy they require with enough sleep and good meals.

Exercise Frequently

Exercise is a powerful stress reliever that also maintains bodily health and improves overall brain function. Exercise generates endorphins, which make the brain feel good. Keep in mind that exercise doesn’t have to be challenging; even a few minutes of yoga, brisk walking, or stretching may significantly improve mental health and lower stress.

Educator Mental Health | Care Plus NJ Schools

Care Plus NJ School Based Services: A Resource for Districts

CarePlus NJ’s School-Based Services offers support to school districts to improve the emotional health of their community’s members. A range of supports are possible and developed based on the individual school district’s needs. Services include professional development workshops, wellness events, drop-in counseling and support groups.

CarePlus NJ’s School-Based Services are dedicated to enhancing tiered mental health support in school settings. A teacher’s mental wellness is incredibly essential since it impacts their students and the school as a whole.

CarePlus Schools would like to learn more about how we can assist your school district in establishing a successful and all-encompassing mental health program and advance your school in achieving its goals.


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