Lee Ann Rawlins Williams, University of North Dakota – Teachers Have Feelings Too: Fostering Mental Health Support in Education

Students aren’t the only ones struggling with their mental health.

Lee Ann Rawlins Williams, clinical assistant professor in the education, health, and behavior studies department at the University of North Dakota, takes a look at the people standing in front of them.

Lee Ann Rawlins Williams, PhD, CRC, CFLE is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Education, Health, and Behavior Studies Department at the University of North Dakota. She serves as Program Director of Undergraduate Rehabilitation and Human Services Program. Dr. Williams has extensive academic experience working with programs focusing on disability and rehabilitation at various universities. In addition, her professional experiences include work in the field of rehabilitative health sciences, rehabilitation counselor education, student services, training, and development. Dr. Williams has held a variety of leadership positions at the local, state, regional, national, and international levels for professional rehabilitation associations. She has published research in peer-reviewed journals and co-authored two books focusing on case and caseload management.

Teachers Have Feelings Too: Fostering Mental Health Support in Education

Teacher mental health plays a key role that reaches far beyond the individual educator—it directly shapes the quality of education, the atmosphere of the learning environment, and the overall well-being of students. Recognizing and addressing the mental health of teachers represents an investment in the future, fostering a supportive educational environment that benefits both teachers and students.

Teachers serve as the backbone of the education system, passing on knowledge and fostering the educational and emotional growth of their students. A teacher’s mental health significantly impacts their ability to effectively work with students, create a positive classroom atmosphere, and provide the necessary support for individual learning needs. When teachers are mentally healthy, they are better equipped to handle the challenges of the profession, adapt to diverse student needs, and inspire a true love for learning.

Additionally, teacher mental health is closely linked to job satisfaction and retention. The demanding nature of teaching, combined with increased societal pressures, can lead to burnout and stress. Prioritizing the mental health well-being of educators is essential for preventing teacher burnout, turnover, ensuring continuity in education, and promoting a stable and supportive learning environment for students.

Teachers serve as role models for their students. A teacher who prioritizes their mental health demonstrates the importance of self-care, resilience, and emotional intelligence. These qualities not only contribute to a positive school culture but also help students develop essential life skills.

The impact of teacher mental health emphasizes the necessity for comprehensive support mechanisms within the education system. Recognizing, prioritizing, and addressing the mental well-being of teachers is an investment that not only ensures a thriving educational environment but also cultivates resilient, well-rounded individuals equipped for life beyond the classroom.  Also, being proactive ensures that the educational system keep growing and stay vibrant, making a lasting impact on education into the future.

Read More:
[The Conversation] – Students do better and schools are more stable when teachers get mental health support