The article below is from a website for teachers in England, but really, doesn’t this anonymous quote sum up quite a lot of professions?
“Despite significant efforts to destigmatise mental health, stigma still persists. Especially in our profession. We are responsible for so many children every single day. How can we fulfill our role when we can barely exist ourselves? We do it because, as a profession, we put ourselves to one side. Which, ultimately, only exacerbates the issue.
So, if there is one thing I would ask SLT to do, it would be to talk to us. Ask if we’re OK, and really mean it, without judgement. And we should do the same for them.
Maybe then stigma would disappear, and we could halt the exodus from the classroom that we have seen in recent years. Or is that just a bit too positive for an anxious brain to suggest? “
I could alter a few details and easily be talking about law firms, banks, insurance companies, medical professionals, retail and restaurant workers, etc. You name any industry and I can almost guarantee you that there are people thinking very similar things. I wish I could talk about my mental health, but I don’t want my performance, or my decisions to be called into question, so I’ll remain quiet.
That’s the damage of stigma. People who need a little support, a listening ear, a proverbially shoulder to cry on, don’t get it for fear of being judged.
And then, things escalate and just get worse, until they are forced to leave their profession.
Why should this be the case when we are all dealing with a pandemic and having struggles? Why do we still judge people who actually talk about it?
Nothing will change until we can eliminate the stigma that causes so many to not even talk about their struggles.