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Week 1: Mental Health Awareness Month and Teachers' Well-Being
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, dedicated to raising awareness and educating the public about suicide and mental illnesses, the realities of living with these conditions, and reducing stigma around mental illness.
While it is crucial to raise awareness about mental illness and the stigma individuals with these difficulties face, it is equally important to promote and encourage wellness. Preventing psychological difficulties before they occur or catching them at their very outset before they become worse is essential. In prioritizing wellness, we save countless lives, emotional pain, productivity, and money.
As we know, teaching is challenging and, at times, stressful, and Teach For America believes in fostering wellness within our network; we believe wellness is an essential part of your toolkit to be an effective teacher and leader. Through blogs, a staff website dedicated to supporting corps members’ mental health, resource sheets, health-promoting initiatives, and regional wellness champions, Teach For America aims to help teachers stay healthy.
To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, we have a number of exciting initiatives planned to help promote our teachers’ well-being. All month long, we will publish blogs covering a number of key mental health issues. Following this week, we will have a blog about the highly popular Headspace app. With well over two million users, among them Gwyneth Paltrow, Emma Watson, and Zach Braff, Headspace is rapidly becoming the top mindfulness meditation app in the world. Next week, we will discuss the importance of mindfulness meditation and announce an exciting partnership Headspace is forming with Teach For America.
Later in the month, we will hear from John Stoneburner, an alum and current staff member from Los Angeles who, with his colleagues, has developed a successful wellness initiative with his region’s teachers. He will write about myths of mental health and wellness and teaching. We’ll also hear from alum Coley Williams, who developed and runs Level Therapy, a fast-growing tele-therapy platform that offers convenient and accessible therapy through your mobile device or computer. She will write about the importance of identifying mental health disorders and getting treatment for them. And to close us out we’ll hear from Tatum, a 2016 corps member who will share more about their journey to the corps and the ups and downs of their first year teaching in a new community.
Each week’s blog will give our teaching community an opportunity to contribute to the conversation and provide suggestions on wellness along with a chance to earn exciting prizes. This week we’re asking our corps members and alumni teachers to take a look at our teaching tools, wellness, and mental health resource page and let us know what other wellness resources and practices you find useful or would like us to add. When our teachers share, they’ll be entered to win a wellness giveaway.
Stay tuned next week to hear about the exciting announcement with Headspace!