The Prince Rupert District Teachers’ Union declared Dec. 15th as “PRDTU Teachers’ Mental Health Awareness Day” to draw attention to the mental health needs of teachers and other school staff during Covid.
Resources for Teachers
Teachers across Canada report high levels of stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns during the pandemic. Many teachers report feeling powerless, especially when faced with students whose needs were not being met. This was a leading concern for teachers and leads to high levels of stress, overloaded work, and burn out. Many teachers also report feeling unsupported in terms of safety at work. While we all have different levels of comfort around risk and Covid, all employees have a right to health and safety at work. Teachers should be provided with clear guidance, effective measures, reasonable workloads, and support.
To protect your mental health, you can:
- Seek medical or mental health care if required. Talk to your doctor or other health care provider. You may be eligible for medical leave.
- If you require accommodations at work due to a health need, be sure to speak to your Staff Rep or the PRDTU president for advice on your rights and the process. We are here to help you.
- Access the Employee and Family Assistance program at 1-800-667-0993. (The BCTF also provides members with an online resource for mental health.)
- Make your needs and concerns known. Speak to your Staff Rep, PRDTU officers, health and safety rep, and colleagues about your concerns or needs. You health information is kept confidential by PRDTU officers. For the strictest confidentially, speak with Gabby directly. Share only as much you would like. We do not need to know specifics to help you.
- Even if we cannot address the need directly, knowing what concerns people are facing does inform advocacy and can make a difference. Be proactive and speak up (or ask your advocates in the PRDTU to help you).
- Know your rights. You have a right to a safe and healthy workplace, to a voice in health and safety measures, to have your collective agreement respected, and to be proactive in protecting staff and student health and safety.
- These rights are exercised by working through union and health and safety processes (such as following guidelines). Your involvement matters.
- Exercise your professional autonomy and limit your workload. Being asked do the impossible feels overwhelming and is stressful. It’s also disrespectful of our work as professionals. Many teachers feel that this takes advantage of their care for their students. If the workload is not possible, then set limits on your time. Only try doing what is possible and in your control to actually do.
- Also, pay attention to how “little things” may bother you more than before.
Asking for help…
- Contact Gabby (PRDTU president) to ask for help. Seek advice from him if you need help navigating the system, such as before applying for medical leave or before seeking an accommodation.
- FSEAP (Confidential Counselling) – Call 1-800-667-0993
- Call 911 or seek immediate medical help if you are experiencing a mental health or other medical crisis or emergency, especially if you or others are in danger.