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. I choose to do it on teachers and their mental health because I feel like sometimes mental healthy is something that is not thought about. But with all of the issues in the school systems like problem kids school shooting all of the work that they are doing after hours and at home that no one sees or appreciates. And teachers are always caring about their students but who is caring about them, which is why I think teachers need to have people who check on them and make sure their will being is good because who else is going to care and teach your children like them.

  2. Self-care in general is an important aspect of every person’s life. When it comes to a profession such as teaching though I believe that it holds a higher level of importance. In the article, it states, “Educators by virtue of their job description are givers and keep giving at the expense of their own health.” It is a very common thing especially today to see teachers get ‘burnt out’ and leave the teaching profession altogether because it is too much stress on their mental health. Taking care of yourself can sometimes be hard so adding others that you put before yourself can make prioritizing you much more difficult. I think the tips and infographic provided in this article can be very beneficial when it comes to caring for yourself.

  3. While looking for an article to read, this specific one caught my eye. “Healthy Teachers…” goes into great depth on the fact that while mental health is an extremely important aspect in students, it is also extremely important to pay attention to the mental health of teachers as well. I took particular note of, “When our nation’s teachers are not healthy, our schools are not healthy.” When the teachers are not in a healthy mindset, that affects their students. I relate to this on both the student and teacher level. As a student in college, mental health has always been an extreme challenge for me and dealing with it. I hope to be a teacher soon and will continue to take care of my mental health.

  4. Mental health is always one of the lesser talked about topics concerning the workforce and even less talked about when it comes to teachers. I worked in the teacher workforce as a paraprofessional from the 2022-2023 school year and it mentally took a toll on me. As teachers and as students, the effects of covid are still highly present, and even now people are still getting used to the invisible and silent changes of the classroom. It is even more difficult to take a break as a teacher because your students need you in the classroom and it is frowned upon by other teachers and administration. Because of the teacher’s workload, teachers are burning out quicker than ever and are refusing to go back into education.

  5. I am often warned as a future educator to be aware of the mental toll it takes on you. I talk with teachers leaving the profession because the stress was too high and the reward was too little. The stress for your student’s success, managing large classrooms, meeting curriculum requirements, and facing administrative pressures are all reasons I’ve heard why teacher mental-health is low and burnout is high. Teachers also feel like they don’t have an adequate support system which is an issue on its own. It’s so important for teachers to not only prioritize their mental-health, but for students, parents, and administration to recognize the need. Prioritizing mental health will not only prevent burnout, but set a good example for their students. Doing this might be the beginning of creating a more positive educational environment where teachers are not looking for a way out.

  6. As a future educator and someone who is friends with current educators, I can say that mental health is super important for not only the kids but for ourselves. My educator friends have taught me to always remember that my mental health matters, and sometimes you need to make choices to better it. Like taking summer classes! My educator friends encouraged me to do it to put less stress during my fall and spring semester when getting classes in, and to get my degree at a faster level. This article is very informative when it comes to realizing that teachers’ mental health is just as important as the students.

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