Every day someone in a workplace is signed off from their job due to mental health issues.
It is an increasing issue, especially in the education. But should we be sacrificing our own wellbeing for the sake of a job where we’re we would be replaced without a second glance.
Goals posts are ever being changed in education, dictated by a government who were last in a classroom when they left school. They know nothing of the daily struggles we face with budget cuts and decline in children’s behaviour.
More focus is put in sats and children making age related expected levels, than the child’s well being and the progress they’ve made based on them as a individual. In the current system they are seen as a percentage in a set of data and the teachers are forced to push the children to achieve unrealistic targets.
I see on a day to day basis children who don’t fit into the square shaped peg hole we are trying to force them into, when really they are a star waiting to shine. Children that are just like I was at school, falling through the cracks because they are quiet or not as ‘academic’ as other children. These children are artistic, story tellers, singers or PE stars in the making. These are the type of children that would also make fantastic teachers in the future due to their passion and determination. Just like the teachers I had that inspired me and hopefully the type of teacher I am to those in my class.
Unfortunately it is getting harder and harder to be an inspiration teacher when everything in schools can change from one day to the next. Whether it’s reading, writing or curriculum, things change so regularly that teachers and students don’t know if they are coming or going. This is thanks to Ofsted and the government changing what they expect of schools, and it having to be filtered down.
Constant change and unclear direction can be what affects mental health (in all walks of life not just teaching) and leads to stress, anxiety and depression. Employers should be doing more to ensure that their employees have a positive mental well being and don’t feel pressured to be pushed toward unrealistic targets. Putting strain on how they feel and making them feel that they should hide it. Many people still feel ashamed to stand up and say ‘I have a mental health issue, I need support’ for fear they will be told the same old phrases ‘what have you got to be stressed about?’ Or ‘anxiety, it’s all in your head,’ or my favourite ‘can’t you just cheer up?’ TRUST ME!! None of these are helpful. I’ve been there and still am.
Employers are scared of the words stress, anxiety or depression – unlike our fear – they fear they will lose good workers. And we are good if not great workers. But we need some support.
There’s some companies that have staff yoga, or chill out zones. But does this really improve over all well being? Or does it just help for that moment in time. Real well being comes from a decent work life balance, a supportive team, and understanding responsible employer. Without these you may feel like you are drowning.
I am lucky that I currently have a very supportive team around me at work, and an amazing support network at home. However, I still have many days when I feel like a fish out of water. But I am slowly coming to realise that my mental outlook on life is far more important than any job. More people need to realise that as well.
I’ve come to the conclusion that no amount of salary is worth your own health and over all well being. Do what you need to do for you and no one else!