The following is a message I received from a reader who asked me to share. It is so important as educators that we understand and are compassionate towards children and youth who have mental health issues. Parents and teachers working together = happier, healthier kids.
Dear fellow educators who need this reminder,
Mental health issues are not like colds or the flu. Those attempting resilience may be overcome at nine, feeling reasonably able to fake it at noon, and done in again at four. Thus, you may not see them in class, while they are crying in guidance, but you may see them “laughing it up with friends at lunch.”
Here’s how it works, in case you missed the class in psych or any of the wellness events held at your school, or haven’t touched base with the other teachers who are amazing and helpful. Depressed kids may have two good days and a bad week and then complete an opera or go back to bed for three weeks. This is not evasion. This is not a choice.
If you also suffer and manage to force yourself to go to work, good for you. If I were your mom, or your union rep, I’d tell you to take better care of yourself. It’s not ok to pretend to be compassionate and understanding while actually judging and valorizing martyrdom, denial, and workaholism. If you don’t want to help, don’t, but don’t pretend you do and then not. It confuses the kids and confusion makes it all much worse because they blame themselves.
A Concerned Parent
3 thoughts on “Mental Illness is Not a Choice – A Reminder for Educators”
I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to explain this to general ed teachers. If he was blind you wouldn’t be pissed at him for not being able to see, so why hate him because the organ that isn’t firing correctly is his brain?
Ugh…I could go on all day. 🙂
Yup. Soooo frustrating. But so long as these kids know someone is on their side and that they “get it”, things should get better. knock on wood (*taps side of head).