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Mental Health

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by TexanTeacher2013, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. Mickyd197se

    Mickyd197se Occasional commenter

    From all studies I have seen, the rates of mental illness are a lot of higher than the national average. I'd say it's the nature of what is a very stressful job at times. Even great teaching placements have times of stress. Bad ones....yikes. It's also a job where you are on display each and every day. You can't have a day just getting through the tasks in front of a computer and hiding away. You can't have a day of non communication because you're blue. Nope, you're up there as if on a stage in front of 20+ kids. Then, once again. And another time. Maybe then you can go home. Maybe the day is busy than that. Interaction makes up the bulk of the day. The great thing about giving tests is that allows a bit of peace and quiet at some stage of the day. I quite look forward to them as a change!

    I've suffered from addiction issues for some time and also from depression which was triggered by grief but has since returned intermittently. I'm very grateful that my medical coverage is international (U.S.-based firm) and so treats medical health issues like other health issues. Therapist visits are reimbursed, antidepressants (not that I ever tried them as I'm worried I'd get addicted to them too!) are reimbursed. Sometimes, it's the medical coverage you have rather than the particular city. I'd be very careful with any future position I chose. The medical coverage would have to be good as my partner also has had some issues. They'd have cost us a small fortune if we hadn't had the coverage, so from now on we'll be very cautious before moving on.
  2. Mickyd197se

    Mickyd197se Occasional commenter

    Getting out of the UK was a positive thing for me. In fact, one of the best things I have ever done. I was stuck in a rut there, my life seemed monotonous and I started to loathe teaching there. The winters especially were grim.

    A change is as good as a rest, they say. It can be. On the other hand, I've seen many struggle and go back to Blighty as soon as they could. The wanderer life is not for all, it's true, but it's definitely the only way to be for some.
  3. sparklesparkle

    sparklesparkle Established commenter

    I wasn't referring to a change of environment. This could be beneficial for mental health.

    I meant packing up or selling belongings, saying goodbye to loved ones and friends, bureaucracy and legal stuff when you arrive, buying new belongings, settling into a new environment with new food, a new language, different weather, etc., perhaps searching for somewhere to live, adapting to new colleagues, new students, a new routine, possibly a new curriculum. All of these can be very stressful.
  4. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Well, yes, sparklesparkle, I would agree that being an international teacher is not always stress-free. But the strange thing is that in the last twenty years, having taught in various international schools around the world, I have never met one single teacher who has said to me, "I am going back to the UK, where there is less stress and there are fewer hassles." Yes, some teachers do indeed return to the UK, usually for personal and for family reasons, but not because they love OFSTED and they miss those lovely government initiatives in education.

    Some international schools, like the one in Shenzhen where I was teaching for five years, have excellent HR people who really try their best to help the new foreign staff to settle in. (Our Chinese HR ladies rarely opened their wings indoors and they tried to conceal their halos, so that we would not be dazzled too much.) In Doha, however, I worked at a school where the dreadful HR woman was so lazy and so spiteful that you were better off doing without her "services".
  5. fordseries123

    fordseries123 New commenter

    Change of diet, regular exercise, meditation, lifestyle changes, setting goals, talking about problems, identifying the cause of stress/anxiety/depression, reducing stress and having set times of relaxation will massively help mental health issues.

    The evidence for people being prescribed/taking anti-depressants is worrying. Suggesting that for many, the medication is not really helping or causing other long term problems. Doing the things in the previous paragraph over a course of 2-3 years is initially challenging, hence why sadly, too many people go directly to the medication route when it is not always necessary.

    As teachers, we must look after each other and look out for our colleagues as well as our pupils. Being abroad can be a wonderful experience, but also hugely stressful and challenging at times.
    TexanTeacher2013 likes this.
  6. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    For me the medication is absolutely necessary, and I'm not the only one. Yes all the things you mention are very beneficial but they don't always work on their own. I know from personal experience.
  7. TexanTeacher2013

    TexanTeacher2013 New commenter

    My physician is willing to write me a 6 month prescription if I am able to return every 6 months.This is definitely relief!! I'm noticing some concerning symptomatic changes in the way my anxiety is impacting me (insomnia, hair shedding, lethargy). Fortunately, she informed me these things are normal considering my current workload ( I need to escape this school asap) and prepping for the big move. I am simply happy I'll be able to sleep. My zombified state is not attractive no matter how much eyeliner and mascara I use. Hehehe.

    Thanks for all of the responses. Very informative, it's reassuring to know others are experiencing similar situations and doing so successfully.
  8. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    I connected with some it her educators who suffer from anxiety and depression and we've got a little support network going. If you ever feel the need to talk, you're always welcome to message me.
  9. TexanTeacher2013

    TexanTeacher2013 New commenter

    Thank you ejclibrarian! *All hearts*

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