Here at Gaggle, our data has provided insight into the state of student mental health throughout the pandemic. We know that students have increasingly struggled with issues involving suicide, self-harm, violence, and other concerning situations during this challenging time, but how are educators coping? Much like students, educators saw their worlds turned upside-down overnight as they shifted their lessons to the virtual environment in order to keep students engaged while schools were closed.
Teaching was already a stressful occupation before the pandemic, but the transition to remote learning, difficulty connecting with students, lacking resources, and health fears have all contributed to heightened stress levels for our teachers. In a recent survey, 92% of teachers indicated that their job is more stressful now than it was before the pandemic. This figure has increased from 81% one year ago—when most buildings were closed and distance learning was relatively new.
Despite promising developments in vaccines and testing, along with new funding streams to support learning and teaching during the pandemic, stress levels continue to rise for our educators. Additional reports indicate that rates of anxiety and depression have quadrupled during the pandemic, and 57% of K-12 educators are seriously worried about burnout. What steps can districts and educators take to promote positive mental well-being?
It’s important for educators to be encouraged to openly talk about mental health, which can help remove the stigma, promote well-being, and assist leaders in recognizing the early signs of any struggles. It’s also vital to have support systems in place so teachers know where they can get help if needed. Whether that’s creating district support groups, sharing resources like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Crisis Text Line, or bringing in outside counselors to offer support to staff, educators need to know how to access help when they need it most.
Want to learn some simple and effective ways educators can practice self-care? Watch our Student Wellness Series: Educator Well-Being webinar to discover tips for avoiding burnout from our expert panel: clinical psychologist Dr. Lisa Strohman, Dr. Eric Eshbach from the Pennsylvania Principals Association, and Steve Lehman from Northern York County School District.