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Depression - would you tell your Head teacher?

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by MrsArmitage, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. MrsArmitage

    MrsArmitage Occasional commenter

    I was diagnosed with reactive depression about a year ago, and it's probably been quite clear to a lot of people at work that I've not been myself for a long time. It's reached a point now where I'm exhausted by trying to hide it at work and would like some support. As far as I can see, it hasn't affected my teaching (great GCSE results this year! ) but it is affecting other areas of my life. Does anyone have any experience of telling their headteacher? How far might it affect my promotion prospects at school? Should I tell my head of dept? She's pretty much guessed anyway! I'm all in a lather about it as I'm fed up of pretending that I'm ok.
     
  2. MrsArmitage

    MrsArmitage Occasional commenter

    I was diagnosed with reactive depression about a year ago, and it's probably been quite clear to a lot of people at work that I've not been myself for a long time. It's reached a point now where I'm exhausted by trying to hide it at work and would like some support. As far as I can see, it hasn't affected my teaching (great GCSE results this year! ) but it is affecting other areas of my life. Does anyone have any experience of telling their headteacher? How far might it affect my promotion prospects at school? Should I tell my head of dept? She's pretty much guessed anyway! I'm all in a lather about it as I'm fed up of pretending that I'm ok.
     
  3. I had the same dilemna going through my head last term.
    In the end I had a meeting with the head and just explained to her that I was still struggling to come to terms with my berevements and the grief was adding extra stress which made things difficult to manage. She has referred me to OH and I told her I was getting support externally. I didn't mention the fact that I have been diagnosed with Depression and am on ADs.
     
  4. Personally I wouldnt- I have had depression and never told the Head. When it got so bad I was signed off work for 3mths my GP put down Anxiety which although quite similar doesnt sound as bad. I suffer from Severe A-typical depression and Anxiety so we werent lying.
    I think that even when illness is caused by external factors and mine was- I am now well on mend and Psychs are in process of reducing my meds gradually; Heads often assume that it must be work and try to support by taking things off you but also by not giving you opportunities to further your career.
    You could always just confide in one or two close colleagues about it so if you have a bad day you can tell them you are having a rubbish day and then can be supportive but not overbearing. Just a thought
     
  5. MrsArmitage

    MrsArmitage Occasional commenter

    blimey - it's a real dilemma! I'd like to tell my HOD - but am not sure how far this would be taken in confidence. Part of my problem is the toxic atmosphere between staff and I really don't trust many people to keep their gobs shut. My prescriptions also say I'm on ADs for anxiety and not depression, but again this is because my doc said that some heads don't have a very helpful view of depression. What does occupational health actually involve?
     
  6. I'm still waiting to find out!
     
  7. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter


    A chat with a nice lady, essentially!
     
  8. I think it depends on your Headteacher. The problem with not telling them is that they can't offer you support. I have found Occupational Health very helpful and supportive. After I returned to work following a period of depression, occupational health recommended to my Headteacher that I didn't attend a parents evening and that I didn't do lunchtime and after school duties for 6 weeks. Don't get worked up about Occupational Health. My visits only last about 10 minutes.
    I asked my Headteacher if she viewed me any differently once she found out I have had mental health issues. She replied that as long as I could do my job well then there would be no reason to not promote me etc.
     
  9. Depends on your head - when I finally crumbled apart mine took me into her office with an industrial sized box of kleenex, told me about when it all got to her in the same way - then threw me out of the school with a flea in my ear and threatened to soundly kick my backside if she ever saw me in school again until I was fully healthy!
    Not all heads are as fab as my old one though!
     
  10. lilykitty

    lilykitty New commenter

    I understand that there's still a stigma around depression and mental health, but personally I would rather people knew that I had been diagnosed with depression and was getting treatment than people thinking I had become a tearful, tired, often negative sounding person for no good reason!
    When it comes to officially telling your headteacher, I would say it depends on your relationship with him / her. Alternatively, I would let people close to you at school know, as they may be reading your low mood as you feeling fed-up with them or just becoming a bit of a misery. Word would probably get back to the head without you having to do anything 'official'.
    Hope you start to feel better soon [​IMG]
     
  11. MrsArmitage

    MrsArmitage Occasional commenter

    Thanks for all the replies. There are a couple of good friends at work that I've told, who really weren't surprised as they've seen me go down hill quite a lot the last couple of years. My head teacher is a funny old stick, and I'm really not sure how this would go down with him; so I think I'll keep it quiet from him for as long as I can. I might tell my HOD though; we get on very well and it's been perfectly apparent that there's something very wrong, and I think there'll be a sense of relief that Iv'e got a diagnosis and treatment underway. It's just such a shame that it's my workplace that has caused this
    [​IMG]
    thanks lilykitty!

     
  12. flickaz

    flickaz New commenter

    I told my headteacher but mainly because she called me into her office about something and I ended up in floods of tears. She then revealed that she was worried about me anyway as a couple of people had been in to see her about me saying I wasn't my normal self. She encouraged me to go to Occ Health and from there to the doctors. It's taken nearly a year of coaxing but now I'm finally on AD's and she's carrying on being really supportive. She knows what kinds of pressures I can and can't handle and piles stuff on me accordingly eg I have a freak out when asked to take assembly but will quite happily sit and analyse piles of data, I freak out at changes so she makes sure she gives me enough notice if anything different is going to happen.
    As someone else said, it really does depend on your relationship. I get on really well with my HT but I've also worked with others who I wouldn't have told in a million years!
     
  13. MrsArmitage

    MrsArmitage Occasional commenter

    My HT really doesn't get my rather dry, gallows humour, so I think I'll leave him be for the moment, until I've found a way of telling him that doesn't leave him looking a bit bewildered! I've had a better day today- the members of staff who I've had problems with didn't drift onto my radar so I managed to have a day where I didn't feel like the source of all evil/incompetence. Fingers crossed for more of the same! Thanks to everyone for their advice and support- it's really much appreciated. Such a shame so many of us go through this nonsense though. [​IMG]
     

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