Healthy Teachers, Healthy Schools: Resources for Teacher Self-Care

Dr. David Childs, D.D., Ph.D.

As we have written in a recent article, it is important to attend to the mental health needs of students in K-12 settings in the US and beyond. With the effects of COVID-19, increased stressors in and out of the classroom and with the proliferation of mass shootings, being aware of mental health challenges in the lives of youth is a top priority. As such, we should also be paying the utmost attention to the mental health of teachers. Because when our nation’s teachers are not healthy our schools are not healthy. Educators by virtue of their job description are givers and keep giving at the expense of their own health. There has been growing and much needed conversation about teacher self-care. In light of this great need, we are including some resources below for teachers to practice self-care.

Ryan Raphael for NPR

Mental Health America has important information in regard to teacher self-care on their website. A recent 2022 article states “According to several studies and reports, teaching is one of the most stressful jobs in the country. The American Federation of Teachers’ 2017 Educator Quality of Work Life Survey found that 61 percent of teachers said their jobs were always or often stressful—more than double the rate of non-teaching working adults—and 58 percent said they had poor mental health due to stress levels. That was before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and since then, the transition to online learning, debates over reopening, and individual safety concerns are making teachers’ mental health worse.

Mental Health America offers this advice for teachers
“If you’re feeling tired and disengaged, there’s a good chance it’s related to trauma, secondary traumatic stress, and/or “battle fatigue.” Teachers are often focused on taking care of and supporting others, but without prioritizing your wellbeing, those stress levels won’t lift. Your mental health isn’t only important to you—teacher wellness is also linked to stability in schools and student achievement.” The article goes on to offer six tips for teachers to take care of their mental health:

1. Set boundaries early on – and hold them.
2. Focus on what you can control.
3. Move your body.
4. Stay in touch with friends and family.
5. Keep up with self-care.
6. Maintain Reasonable expectations.

Resources for Teacher Self-care
The 3 R’s for Teacher Self-Care: Reflect. Release. Recharge.
Don’t Forget the Adults: How Schools and Districts Can Support Educator Mental Health
Teachers’ Mental Health Has Suffered in the Pandemic. Here’s How Districts Can Help
We Need to Do More for Teachers Who are Exhausted, Stressed and Burned Out
15 Mental Health Tips For Teachers-Teach Thought
Teachers Are Experiencing a Mental Health Crisis, Too
10 Teacher Mental Health Tips You Can Put Into Practice Today
America’s Teachers Are Facing a Mental Health Crisis, Too

We are open to feedback and discussion. If you see any typos or grammatical errors please feel free to email the author and editor at the address below:

Dr. David Childs 


  1. Overall, I think this is an article that every future educator or teacher needs to read. Like the article mentioned teachers are constantly giving to their students or doing anything they possibly can to make sure their students succeed. This includes putting their students before their own mental and physical needs. Therefore, it is important that us as teachers do everything, we can make sure we are healthy physically and mentally. I like that this article gives great resources for teachers to make sure they are taking care of themselves and gives the everything they need to be mentally healthy and take care of themselves. If teachers are not healthy then how are they supposed to help their students. We need to make sure all students have these resources to be healthy for themselves and their students. 

  2. The main reason why I clicked on this article is because every day when I get on social media, I see a teacher sharing her stress with the world. As a soon to be teacher this scares me. This scares me because this is the career that I have been working my whole life towards and I hate to see current teachers in such distress. Due to the growing teacher shortage, now is the time to take mental health seriously. Teachers need to know that their mental health matters and there are proper ways of dealing with it. This article provides teachers with several helpful resources to help them improve their mental health and I am glad to know such resources exist.

  3. The three R’s linked article is a great resource for those of us who love to write. Sure, the prompt doesn’t necessarily mean you need to write it down, you could just think about it. But as a future educator who loves to write, I think I will be saving these prompts for later. It is important to take care of yourself, because at the end of the day we can’t be much help to our students if we are not helping ourselves first. This is also like preventative measures in a classroom, when it comes to mental health, we should be prioritizing it from the start. Not just when a trauma/secondary trauma occurs. This article has great resources for where to start on that journey.

  4. I really enjoy this article and think this is such an important topic that is not discussed enough. Mental health is extremely important to me as I struggle with mental health issues, which happened to have become more severe after the pandemic started. Teachers are quitting left and right, many of the reasons being overworked, overwhelmed, and underpaid. One thing the article mentions that strikes me the most is the increase in mass shootings. It’s heartbreaking and terrifying to think that this is a very real and possible situation I may be in.

  5. I enjoyed this article because I thought that it gives teachers good pointers on how to deal with stress. I think that this teacher would be very good for new teachers, like me, who may need reminders to take care of yourself. This article reminds me a lot of the saying “You can not pour from an empty cup.” This is because as a teacher, we get stressed out. We have a lot on our plates 24/7 and sometimes it may feel like you may never get a break. You put in all of this work for the lessons not to go the way you want, or for something to come up in your day which makes you not be able to do the lesson you were so excited about. By reading this article, it reminded me that I need to fill up my cup so I can give the students the best version of who I am, and they learn the best.

  6. I think that it is very important that teachers take time to consider their own mental health. It is quite common for teachers to focus entirely on their students and how well they are doing (which is part of the job) and in turn, leave their own well-being as something that is not a priority. I think that it is great that in recent years, mental health has been more destigmatized, and as a society, we are seeing more and more how important it is to address these issues in a more constructive way.

  7. Mental health is something that I feel everyone struggles with acknowledging. One of the comments that stuck with me since reading this article is when it talked about if our teacher’s mental health isn’t healthy, our schools are not healthy. I think this is a true statement, because if we’re not healthy, we’re not giving our students the best version of ourselves. I feel like teachers are held up to a high expectation that we must put our job before ourselves and if not, we are shamed for it both directly and indirectly. As I continued to read, the very first tip that stuck out to me to better teacher’s mental health was to set boundaries and stick to them. Since COVID-19, I have seen so many teachers post on social media that this is one of the things they have decided to do differently and it has had a positive impact on their mental health. I feel that if teachers are not creating these boundaries and actually sticking to them, the stats of poor mental health in teachers is going to continue to rise, as well as teachers quickly getting burnt out. This is a goal I have created for myself as I get closer to becoming a first year teacher.

  8. I think this article is a must read especially for those who are new or future teachers. I enjoyed reading what someone could do for self-care like getting plenty of sleep, exercising, reading or getting a hug. Small things like that can lift a persons day. It’s better to use these approaches as well as the six tips for teachers because if your mental health declines, you as the teacher can affect how the students learn. Overall, showing positivity and happiness in the classroom can help engage students in learning.

  9. I think this is an article everyone should read. This piece mentions that teachers spend so much time thinking of others, that it is often forgotten they must care for themselves. Therefore, mental health awareness and self care tips are needed now more than ever. In my opinion, I believe that mental health days in this profession are extremely important. Without them, teaching successfully is not an option. How is one expected to care for hundreds of little minds if they are not able to care for themselves? The resources mentioned are extremely helpful and need to be broadcasted nation wide.

  10. Focus on mental health care for teachers is something that should be talked about more. I like that the article offers tips of easily decreasing levels of stress as a teacher. Setting boundaries early on and sticking to them is a tip that seems to make the most sence in making sure a teacher does not get overwhelming stressed to the point they are doing more harm than good for their students. Another important point the article mentioned is mass shootings. With the rise in mass shootins in America, I can only help but think about those types of situations in my future teaching career. The stress of those has already been put on me without my teaching career even beginning.

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