The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health in the World of Education

There is a stigma attached to posts on mental health. People are afraid to deal with mental health issues. On Twitter, there will be lots of ‘likes’ and maybe a few retweets, but seldom is there anything else.

So I don’t expend much attention will be paid to this post – too bad.

The stigma surrounding mental illness is a big problem especially for principals and superintendents who actually witness many people suffering from mental health issues – teachers, students, parents. They have no training in this area and I think, tend to be less than empathetic. As a principal, I know we seldom discussed these topics and any form of distress was easily seen as a sign of weakness.

As a principal, I had an advantage. I have first-hand experience of the impact mental illness can have on an individual. I also had nine years of experience working as a guidance counsellor before I became an administrator. I easily saw more people in distress as an administrator than I ever saw as a counsellor. At least I knew what these people were going through. Most administrators do not and that is not a good situation.

I witnessed this deficit at all levels of senior administration with one notable exception.

The work being done in the  campaign is really important and I am looking forward to participating in the #Ontedchat twitter chat next Wednesday, January 24th, at 8:30 PM. This would also be a great topic for a Voiced Radio podcast!

I hope other people, the people who are in positions of responsibility listen to this podcast – they really should. The stigma surrounding mental illness needs to disappear. The fear needs to disappear. People need to step up and do much more to support those who suffer.

4 thoughts on “The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health in the World of Education

  1. Pingback: The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health in the World of Education | voicEd.ca

  2. Andrea

    Great post. Unfortunate that in so many cases, as you say, mental health is just dismissed as a sign of weakness.

    I’m the mental health rep at my school this year and believe the role is very new. So new in fact, that I’m trying to figure it out as there was no email list for reps unlike other roles like the arts or phys-ed reps. I’m interested in learning more about the https://twitter.com/hashtag/HeyAreYouAlright?src=hash campaign but the link only leads to twitter feed and I’m looking for a website and resources.

    Like

    1. Hi Andrea

      Good to hear from you! I would follow that hashtag to get posts from people in the OCSB who are leading this campaign. You can also access the twitter accounts of Laurie Azzi, Julie Nihmey or Chris Nihmey – all are wonderful advocates for mental health.

      Like

  3. Pingback: This Week in Ontario Edublogs – doug — off the record

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