The desire to draw awareness towards Teachers' Mental Health concerns was a key topic of note for the Prince Rupert District Teachers’ Union (PRDTU) Executive Committee its regular meeting last week.
With the local union representatives voting to declare Jan. 15th as “Teachers’ Mental Health Awareness Day”
The mid January date designed to relay to the public some of the stress, fear, and working conditions of teachers and other school staff in School District 52.
“Teachers and other school staff are frontline workers in this pandemic. Many teachers and other school staff report extreme worry and stress on the job, especially over safety concerns and working conditions during the pandemic.” -- Gabriel Bureau, president of the PRDTU.
To raise awareness and to help school staff, the union plans to distribute resources on counselling services, mental health programs, and ways of responding to stress and fear at work in the lead up to Teachers’ Mental Health Awareness Day.
As part of the January 15th program 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.
Towards how they hope to share information the PRDTU President noted that “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. 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.”
In addition to the stress of being a teacher under current circumstances, the union has noted how school staff are affected in the same way as all other workers as well.
As a way of bringing the community together on the topic, the union observes how 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.
As they continue with the preparations and get closer towards next month's day of awareness you can follow along through the PRDTU website and twitter feed.
For more notes related to education on the North Coast see our archive page here.