Teachers Mental Health Awareness Day has been proclaimed to be Jan. 15, to raise understanding of the fear, stress, and working condition of teachers and staff in SD 52, Prince Rupert District Teachers Union said on Dec. 15.
“Many teachers feel overwhelmed, especially because they feel responsible for student safety but at the same time feel powerless to put in place the measures needed to ensure that things are as safe as possible,” Gabriel Bureau, president of PRDTU said. “While teachers are being as proactive as possible, it can take a toll on our mental health to have such a responsibility without being backed by your employer.”
Teachers are front-line workers Bureau said, with many reporting to the union they are experiencing extreme worry and stress in the work environment, especially due to safety concerns, and working conditions during the pandemic.
“In addition to the stress of being a teacher under current circumstances, school staff is affected in the same way as all other workers as well,” Bureaus said. “Teachers’ Mental Health Awareness Day will raise awareness of issues such as isolation, fear, caring for family members, and other COVID-related stresses that everyone in the community is facing together.
The day was voted on by the executive committee of PRTDU at the December meeting. They preparing for the day now to raise awareness and to help school staff. The union plans to distribute resources on counseling services, mental health programs, and ways of responding to stress and fear at work in the lead up to Teachers’ Mental Health Awareness Day.
Each school will be invited to raise awareness of mental health and programs in creative ways, with the union providing funds to help support teachers at individual schools.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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