Educators are important people who teach young children and teens what they need to know to be successful in life and in careers in the future. They are not immune to the challenges of addiction due to similar reasons other professionals struggle: politics of the job, stress, and long hours working hard in sometimes under resourced communities. Using substances to cope with the pressure is only one reason why educators struggle with addiction. Find out more about how and why this happens and how to offer support.
The true scope of addiction in education has been flying under the radar for some time. School staff range from administrators to teachers and teacher’s aides who may all struggle with mental health and addiction at some point in their careers. Some people say teaching and working in schools is not that stressful. The reality is that it is very stressful to work in schools. Many children and youth come in with behavioral and mental health challenges of their own, including addiction or trauma. Many educators report feeling exhausted and have trouble sleeping because of the strain of teaching. The workload has increased, the cost for teachers to put out money for supplies has increased, and salaries are not always at acceptable levels compared to their jobs. Stigma still surrounds mental health issues to the point where teachers often feel burdened by their jobs without feeling support to get help.
Work-related stress was connected to a desire to quit teaching. This is also linked to drug use in that teachers may be more likely to use drugs or drink alcohol in relation to stress and anxiety at work. Antidepressants are also on the rise among teachers who struggle with mental health problems. Prescription drug addiction is on the rise as well for educators who are working longer hours and working harder to make things better.
The goal to helping educators who struggle with addiction is to support a better recovery. They need assistance programs to give them time off for seeking help when addiction is part of their story. They need to be able to receive confidential counseling that will not impact their jobs and find health insurance that will cover some or all of the cost of treatment. The goal for educators is to be able to teach and lead with excellence. It is hard to do this when they struggle with the reality of addiction and mental health issues. When people are able to admit the need for help, they are not the only benefactors. Their students, colleagues, friends, and loved ones all benefit from their recovery.
Step in the Right Direction is a safe place to be vulnerable, no matter what your status in education might be. We are here to help you navigate the inner and outer conflicts you face in regards to addiction and mental health. We desire to support your journey with intentional, individual-focused programs and treatment resources designed with your healing in mind. Call us to get started (877) 377-3702.