Local organization provides free mental health services to teachers

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — During the pandemic, teachers have been asked to take on many new responsibilities, and teacher advocates say it’s a tough time to be an educator. However, a local organization is looking to ease the stress a bit with a free new program for educators.

In recent months, a growing nationwide teacher shortage has put additional pressure on educators.

“Our teachers were just juggling trying to keep the kids on task or on the same learning path,” said Beverly Sims, District 3 director for the Alabama Education Association.

Teachers and support staff have faced virtual learning situations and extended student absences for over a year.

“I have never seen our educators go through so much stress and so many unrealistic expectations placed on them,” Sims said.

Some teachers are asked to take on additional responsibilities such as larger classes. A survey by the National Education Association reports that 55% of teachers have considered leaving the profession.

“I can’t tell you that I got really, really many calls before COVID started with teachers and support staff saying ‘I can’t take it anymore. I can not do that. I’m about to have a nervous breakdown,” Sims said. “Over the past two years, I’ve heard this many times.”

Now, a local organization is stepping up to provide free counseling services to teachers in northern Alabama through Reload.

“We certainly see the stress that educators are under, and therefore being able to give them a platform where they can access resources that help them deal with that stress and understand what they can do proactively to help them stay well was the whole goal behind it,” said Rachael Sullivan, owner of Solid Ground Counseling.

The Recharge program is paired with solid guidance to deliver two upcoming webinars for teachers.

“I think a lot of times, by nature, the work of teachers kind of comes home, it’s important to find ways to defuse that and work through it,” Sullivan said.

The webinars are scheduled to take place on June 28 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CST and July 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. CST. Click on here to register for one of these webinars.

Aubrey L. Morgan