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Teaching can contribute to mental health issues

Mental Illness Awareness Week is held Oct. 7-13 each year. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that one in five Americans is affected by mental health conditions. Individuals who suffer from anxiety and depression are part of this group and the stigma related to mental health issues create an environment of shame, fear and silence. To admit struggling with anxiety and depression is perceived to be a sign of individual weakness.

School teachers are a part of this group. Each year the job of the teacher becomes more stressful as additional responsibilities are thrust upon them.

USA Today reported on Oct. 30, 2017, that 58 percent of teachers say their mental health is not good and 61 percent said their work is "always" or "often" stressful.

According to teachthought, Oct. 10, 2008, a teacher makes 1,500 educational decisions per day.

Today teachers tackle classrooms of 25-30 students with very little support. Teachers are mostly on their own and often are dehumanized; their feelings and health are of no consequence. Teachers give and they give until they can give no more, not realizing they are a limited resource. Why do teachers do it? It's because they love their students and the job of teaching. If not careful, teachers can find themselves in a downward spiral of anxiety and depression.

The Guardian published a series of blogs by anonymous teachers. In one on Feb. 27, 2016, referred to as Secret Teacher, the writer said teaching robbed her of health and nearly her life. In this particular blog the anonymous teacher said for months a dark cloud of depression had been hanging over her head. She could not sleep; she could not eat; she doubted everything she did; she was forgetful; she was confused; and most worryingly, she was losing confidence in the classroom. As her depression worsened, she started having panic attacks.

She had taught for 13 years and all reports and feedback from students, parents, colleagues, and administrators showed her to be a great teacher, Yet teaching had robbed her of her health, self-worth and almost her life.

Regrettably she stated, "I will never step foot in a classroom again. I am no longer a teacher. I am finished, I am done." This statement is heart wrenching. That which she wanted and loved to do was destroying her life.

Teachers are a limited resource and must protect their health and not be ashamed to seek support from family and friends, and when needed, medical assistance for anxiety and depression. There is no shame in being human and needing assistance.

Terry Stewart


Recent events offer reason to vote change

So now we have two accused Republican sex offenders as Supreme Court justices, and one Republican multiple-accused sex offender and apparent tax evader as president. Strange, these Republican family values.

And the Republican charade clearly demonstrates why more women needn't bother to come forward and report unwanted sexual advances. Why should they? Once again white Republican politicians just showed they'll automatically belittle the female victim and believe the white rich guy every time.

Good reason to vote for a change in November.

Mike Coooper


Editorial on 10/12/2018

Print Headline: Letters to the editor

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